The published specification of SBVR is dtc/08-01-02. That's the one you should be reading, although the definition of ‘body of shared meanings’ hasn’t changed much since dtc/06-03-02. It is
now: “set of concepts and elements of guidance for which there is a shared
understanding in a given semantic community”
A body of shared meanings in SBVR is "more than just a structured set of terms with definitions". In SBVR, 'concept’ includes both ‘noun
concept’ and ‘fact type’ (synonym ‘verb concept’). Noun concepts play the roles
in fact types. Verb phrases in fact types have meaning only in relation to the roles they connect (e.g. "runs" has different meanings in "person runs race", "person runs company", "blood runs cold" and "crowd runs riot"). The 'elements of guidance' are the business policies, business rules, authorizations,
permissions, etc. that apply to the fact types.
‘designation context’ (itself an SBVR concept) provides context where it is needed explicitly, e.g. for disambiguation of homonyms.
The definition of ‘vocabulary’ is: “set
of designations and fact type forms primarily drawn from a single language to
express concepts within a body of shared meanings”.
The definition of ‘business vocabulary’
is: “vocabulary that is under business jurisdiction” . A speech community within a business
decides what terms, definitions, and fact ype forms it wants in its business vocabulary - but they must be consistent with the concepts (noun concepts and fact types) in the body of shared meanings for the business.
In the Swiss company the semantic community is centred
on the business. The body of shared meanings of the
people there is not everything they know – just what they have decided is needed to run their business. Individuals will be in other semantic communities, although there
probably won’t be many in both the company’s English speech community and the yodelling
semantic community, nor in both the company’s German speech community and the
cricket semantic community.
But within the company, if they don’t
agree on meanings, and don’t create consistent definitions in all three languages, then
they can’t run their business consistently. [Note that this is not about three
communities in three different places, with all the complications of
localization for regulation, market, work practices, culture etc. It’s about
people in the same place with different first languages and, for some, with their
first language as their only language.]
As for separation of meaning from
expression, it’s not that hard to visualize. Think of an empty structure connecting
together all the noun concepts, fact types and elements of guidance – empty in the sense of
having lots of “role holes” but no text. Then think of each speech community
having a set of text objects (or equivalents, such as sinographs) that would fill those role holes. Filling the role
holes with a speech community’s text objects would provide the content of that
speech community’s business vocabulary. You then need a transformation for
readability (verbs embedded in English, at the end in German, etc), which doesn’t
have to be perfect, just understandable (although no doubt people would improve
it over time).
Your Schubert example is a nice story,
but irrelevant. SBVR makes no claim to separate concept from meaning – in SBVR ‘concept’
is defined as a specialization of ‘meaning’. SBVR separates meaning from
expression. If the lady had said “Play it again, Franz”, in
Arabic or Chinese, Schubert might not have understood what she wanted, but that
wouldn’t have changed the meaning.
I don’t think your armband example holds
up, either. If somebody wears a black armband, it’s a black armband whatever
language you say it in. If there is a fact type "person wears mourning
armband" then (if it's relevant) the definitions - in English and Chinese - would say that a
mourning armband in England is black, and in China is white. Then nobody would need to be embarrassed. The concept is "mourning armband", not "black armband" or "white armband".