In working with professional terminology, we sometimes stumble upon forgotten terms. It can’t be helped – technology is constantly advancing and it’s not like we use abacuses and telephones with a rotary dial in our everyday life anymore, but dictionaries can sometimes help dig out a definition to some interesting historic word. For example, the Electrician’s Handbook (“Elektriku käsiraamat”) by Riho Randes includes the word ‘katsa’ (switching that connects terminals with wires that supply several storeys with electricity). Hard to say how common ‘katsa’ was among residents of apartment buildings in the ‘30s and ‘40s, but today, neither the Technical Dictionary of the Keeleveeb nor the usually so helpful ESTERM know the word. Even an electrician acquaintance of mine who I asked about ‘katsa’, just shrugged his shoulders and was surprised that it had been some sort of switching at one time or another.
But Estonian-language books aren’t always helpful. And if you don’t have access to English-language books, a good website to take a look at for information on, for example,
computers, electronics and the internet is Whatis.com. For some reason it seems that when it comes to electronics, internet is often more useful than some thick book.
Speaking of books – the Estonian-English Technical Dictionary that was first published in 2000 is a nice and thick book, but in large part it already has a historical value, because electronics has advanced quite a bit over the last few years and continues to advance every few months, but it won’t make it to the pages of a book anytime soon.