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Where do you turn to when you chance upon new words?
Thread poster: murat karahan

murat karahan  Identity Verified
Turkey
Local time: 18:43
English to Turkish
+ ...
Aug 8, 2003

Are there any institutions in your country where you can apply for help when you come across new words in the source language that have no equivalents yet in your target language? Apart from the etymological approach of finding an equivalent are there any other ways you could use?
Have a look at the sites below, what would you do if you were the first to translate some of these words (some are actually old but most of them are interesting enough).
Some colleagues may suggest leaving them as they are which I deem unacceptable.
There are some linguistic bodies in Turkey which gather once or twice a month and come up with suggestions to new words but it is highly criticized due to its activities in the past and recently because it's not much active at all.


http://www.owlnet.rice.edu/~ling215/NewWords/page1.html

http://www.netscrap.com/netscrap_detail.cfm?scrap_id=230


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Yubing YANG
English to Chinese
+ ...
something interesting to ponder Aug 8, 2003

would like to hear what others say.

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Magda Dziadosz  Identity Verified
Poland
Local time: 17:43
Member (2004)
English to Polish
+ ...
Very interesting question Aug 8, 2003

Hello Murat,
In my country new words are not designed and produced in specialised factories nor developed by language experts and endorsed by authorities. New words are created by all language users every time when they feel that there is something new which cannot be described by any old word. Other users will pick up this new word if they _feel_ they like it, basically majority wins. If the new word becomes popular in the newspapers, in everyday speech or among specialists in a given field, usually very quickly it finds its way to dictionaries and encyclopaedias which are built based on the analysis of usage frequency.
Answering the first part of your question, there is a body responsible for taking care of language development: it’s the Polish Language Board consisting of almost 40 academics from different fields (linguistics, literature, mathematics, law, medicine, theatre). The Board was given four main responsibilities: to issue opinions and advice on the usage of Polish (particularly in relation to naming of trading goods); to report on protection of Polish language; to give opinions on the usage of Polish in official documents and legislation; to decide on the principles of spelling and punctuation. They do answer queries about the usage of terminology (in official documents), their decisions are not binding however.

Translators in doubt may also send their questions to at least two academic bodies operating Q&A websites (PWN and UW ) and usually receive very good answers from recognised experts. I subscribe to their newsletters and truly enjoy reading them.

As concerns translating of terms which do not have equivalents: my approach is to check really carefully whether this is the case, new developments are spreading very quickly these days and often you are simply not aware that someone have already coined a good expression which starts its own life. A good approach is to browse through specialised publications in a given field and ask professionals in this area how do they call this new object or phenomenon. If the term or terms are truly new – as it happened to me actually several years ago when I translated and interpreted for an international group introducing new concepts and techniques, I usually try to propose the best expression and get it agreed by the experts in a given field. Sometimes brainstorming in a larger group lead to really good ideas – some of the resulting terms are now widely used.

Magda


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Parrot  Identity Verified
Spain
Local time: 17:43
Member (2002)
Spanish to English
+ ...
Different strokes for different folks Aug 8, 2003

Different institutions take different approaches. I've heard it said that the Spanish RAE updates very seldom because not all new words being generated will be there to stay, and if they are included in a major work (the RAE dictionaries, for example) by the time they come out in print the rage would be over. A sociologist who looked into this phenomenon specifically investigated language which was not meant to be understood (underworld slang, drug and prison vocabulary, for instance) that works on the principle of exclusion. A two-year survey showed that the coded equivalents for "policeman" in any language tend to change roughly every three months.

The problem becomes acute for us when the changing vocabulary reflects rapidly-evolving technologies (telecoms in developing regions, for instance, tend to be very problematic). Usually loan words and very close foreign adaptations are easier to work with in these cases, since engineers do not normally relish having to "interpret" (often backtranslate) over-processed or over-refined coinages.


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Lorenzo Lilli  Identity Verified
Local time: 17:43
German to Italian
+ ...
In Italy Aug 9, 2003

Magda Dziadosz wrote:

Hello Murat,
In my country new words are not designed and produced in specialised factories nor developed by language experts and endorsed by authorities. New words are created by all language users every time when they feel that there is something new which cannot be described by any old word.


It's the same in Italy. There's not really an authority "creating" new words. The Accademia della Crusca, the main authority for the Italian language (although not so influent as its French or Spanish counterparts), has a section of its website regarding new words http://www.accademiadellacrusca.it/parole/parole.php?ctg_id=58, but they're just listed and defined as in most cases they're just invented by journalists.

[Edited at 2003-08-10 07:36]


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murat karahan  Identity Verified
Turkey
Local time: 18:43
English to Turkish
+ ...
TOPIC STARTER
Very interesting replies Aug 9, 2003

The bodies I mentioned can only suggest and such is their claim. Unfortunately, I can't say that many translators turn to them for help. Yet they are very open minded and willing to co-operate with translators as well. What is the situation in your country?

Loan words create a problem when they become mainstream. This question goes to Chenoumi (if she's reading this) Which Academie are you refering to that has suggested new definitions in the topic below, is it the Academie Francaise?
http://www.proz.com/topic/13073
We are all going to see if the ban of
"e-mail" by the French government will have any effects. Here's another linguistic body, the General Commission on Terminology and Neology of the French Culture Ministry.

And Parrot, are you talking about the Real Academia Española? I would be very grateful if other members from different countries could send the names of similar linguistic bodies in their own countries, I'm trying to find out sound examples of how things are elsewhere.

Parrot wrote:

Different institutions take different approaches. I've heard it said that the Spanish RAE updates very seldom because not all new words being generated will be there to stay, and if they are included in a major work (the RAE dictionaries, for example) by the time they come out in print the rage would be over. A sociologist who looked into this phenomenon specifically investigated language which was not meant to be understood (underworld slang, drug and prison vocabulary, for instance) that works on the principle of exclusion. A two-year survey showed that the coded equivalents for "policeman" in any language tend to change roughly every three months.

The problem becomes acute for us when the changing vocabulary reflects rapidly-evolving technologies (telecoms in developing regions, for instance, tend to be very problematic). Usually loan words and very close foreign adaptations are easier to work with in these cases, since engineers do not normally relish having to "interpret" (often backtranslate) over-processed or over-refined coinages.


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Parrot  Identity Verified
Spain
Local time: 17:43
Member (2002)
Spanish to English
+ ...
Yes, I was talking about the Real Academia Española Aug 9, 2003

Another problem they have is reconciling regionalisms, since Spanish is so widespread.

With reference to my experience with developmental vocabulary (Tagalog), the institution I should be referring to is the Linangan ng mga Wika sa Pilipinas (the former Surian ng Wikang Pambansa). I still keep the dictionaries of the former Surian, since their very basic approach gives a good backgrounder on acceptable rules for neologism and coinages. Through the Spanish National Library, I also have access to the older dictionaries in existence, so my approach tends to be somewhat vertically dimensioned (in time) instead of just horizontally interpolating.

I adopted this technique from a common Spanish translation recourse, which is not to incorporate contemporary borrowings flat out, but to take an alternative route probably digging back into Latin or Greek. The result is usually more elegant. The register is more learned, at any rate. It's a good technique to try when you're beside the Complete Oxford English Dictionary (the one including quotes from authorities).

However, this method often causes clashes with the standards of other Tgl translators, who are usually English-bilingual and stop there. Popular linguistic memory is rather short, and if you dig back into etymology and come up with something Sanscrit, Arabic or Bahasa, or - more recently, Spanish - current usage tends to reject it. Still, I believe time-dimensioning is a very valid approach, and certainly very useful for scientific texts. Normal speakers will take mathematics on in Taglish, for instance (a mongrel mix of English and Tagalog). But when I translated a series of math books, I was impressed with the richness of the already-existing vocabulary (discovered through one of those "ancient" dictionaries) which made Taglish practically unnecessary.

This approach should be very feasible in languages with a very long developmental history (Chinese, Hindi, etc.). Probably Turkish as well. Tagalog is actually a very old language with numerous long-dead poetic traditions (particularly in extemporaneous poetry and word-games). Still, not many native speakers relish the thought of bothering to do research on it.



[Edited at 2003-08-09 21:11]


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murat karahan  Identity Verified
Turkey
Local time: 18:43
English to Turkish
+ ...
TOPIC STARTER
Rage, clashes... ??? Aug 9, 2003

I don't want to shift from the subject but there are some very interesting remarks that should be discussed under new topics.
It's the same here Cecilia. The very basic fact that the meaning of words are arbitrarily assigned is neglected or unknown. So I have to add that linguistic knowledge among some translators falls very short too. If words are arbitrary by nature and come to life through a consensus on the meaning there shouldn't be any rage or clashes on the usage of new words or in your case the usage of "ancient" words. Or am I being to optimistic here? One more thing, it looks like all languages have by now developed a pidgin with English.
You're right about Turkish, it is an old language and has many resources such as other Turkish dialects and believe me, there are many.
Magda and Lorenzo, many thanks for the links and information. Yubing, I'd like to hear what you'll say.


Parrot wrote:

Another problem they have is reconciling regionalisms, since Spanish is so widespread.

With reference to my experience with developmental vocabulary (Tagalog), the institution I should be referring to is the Linangan ng mga Wika sa Pilipinas (the former Surian ng Wikang Pambansa). I still keep the dictionaries of the former Surian, since their very basic approach gives a good backgrounder on acceptable rules for neologism and coinages. Through the Spanish National Library, I also have access to the older dictionaries in existence, so my approach tends to be somewhat vertically dimensioned (in time) instead of just horizontally interpolating.

I adopted this technique from a common Spanish translation recourse, which is not to incorporate contemporary borrowings flat out, but to take an alternative route probably digging back into Latin or Greek. The result is usually more elegant. The register is more learned, at any rate.

However, this method often causes clashes with the standards of other Tgl translators, who are usually English-bilingual and stop there. Popular linguistic memory is rather short, and if you dig back into etymology and come up with something Sanscrit, Arabic or Bahasa, or - more recently, Spanish - current usage tends to reject it. Still, I believe time-dimensioning is a very valid approach, and certainly very useful for scientific texts. Normal speakers will take mathematics on in Taglish, for instance (a mongrel mix of English and Tagalog). But when I translated a series of math books, I was impressed with the richness of the already-existing vocabulary (discovered through one of those "ancient" dictionaries) which made Taglish practically unnecessary.

This approach should be very feasible in languages with a very long developmental history (Chinese, Hindi, etc.). Probably Turkish as well. Tagalog is actually a very old language with numerous long-dead poetic traditions (particularly in extemporaneous poetry and word-games). Still, not many native speakers relish the thought of bothering to do research on it.



[Edited at 2003-08-09 20:04]


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Parrot  Identity Verified
Spain
Local time: 17:43
Member (2002)
Spanish to English
+ ...
Ooops, what's "linguistic knowledge"? Aug 9, 2003

murat karahan wrote:

The very basic fact that the meaning of words are arbitrarily assigned is neglected or unknown. So I have to add that linguistic knowledge among some translators falls very short too. If words are arbitrary by nature and come to life through a consensus on the meaning there shouldn't be any rage or clashes on the usage of new words or in your case the usage of "ancient" words. Or am I being to optimistic here? One more thing, it looks like all languages have by now developed a pidgin with English.


Sorry to bring this up, since I may be straying again -- but I do recall an observation (was that Steiner's?) to the effect that few linguists actually spoke more than their own native language, whereas bilingual or plurilingual people were normally far from employing the discipline of linguistics...

Thus, consensus may be reached very easily, but whether it was "kosher" or not was another question altogether... something that could apply to the creation of any pidgin under what might be called "spontaneous Babel conditions" (mixed families, immigrant communities, post-colonial situations, etc.)

This probably spells out a major factor in the rift between the living language and the written word.



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murat karahan  Identity Verified
Turkey
Local time: 18:43
English to Turkish
+ ...
TOPIC STARTER
Sorry Cecilia Aug 10, 2003

I didn't mean to sound like these-should-be-discussed-in-other-topics or don't-stray-off-the-topic. It was very interesting to see that such a rift exists in other languages as well. I guess I wouldn't be falling far from truth by assuming that being proficient in a language (applies to native tongue as well, not as well but mostly) is being held equal to knowing knowing it thoroughly. In that case, who needs linguistics? I myself know just the basics but at least I can say that I'm aspirant.


[/quote]

Sorry to bring this up, since I may be straying again -- but I do recall an observation (was that Steiner's?) to the effect that few linguists actually spoke more than their own native language, whereas bilingual or plurilingual people were normally far from employing the discipline of linguistics...

Thus, consensus may be reached very easily, but whether it was "kosher" or not was another question altogether... something that could apply to the creation of any pidgin under what might be called "spontaneous Babel conditions" (mixed families, immigrant communities, post-colonial situations, etc.)

This probably spells out a major factor in the rift between the living language and the written word.

[/quote]


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Annamaria Leone  Identity Verified
Ireland
Local time: 16:43
Spanish to Italian
+ ...
Interesting Aug 10, 2003

It's really an interesting topic.
I think no rules should exist... just to be as close as possible to the nature of the language... trying to explain in Italian (in my case) what is said in English, avoiding loans as much as possible... even if for example in computer science this is not possible... at the point we are now...


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murat karahan  Identity Verified
Turkey
Local time: 18:43
English to Turkish
+ ...
TOPIC STARTER
I'm not trying to sound prescriptive but... Aug 10, 2003

Let's turn things around a little, only 180 degrees. Let's assume that Italian (or any other language) was the widespread language in computer technology and Italy the leading provider of new tech. Would Italian (or any other language) suffice to coin new words? I'd say it would.
What is the order of things that nececcitate neologization? Is there any language in the world where the word precedes the concept? No. Did the word browser exist before the computer age, or were people downloading anything before internet came into being? What I'm trying to say is that the same process that was used in the creation of new words in the source language, can be applied to the target language as well. Again, you have the meaning but lack the word. Why loan a word then instead of creating a new one just like it was created in the SL?


Nia_Le wrote:

It's really an interesting topic.
I think no rules should exist... just to be as close as possible to the nature of the language... trying to explain in Italian (in my case) what is said in English, avoiding loans as much as possible... even if for example in computer science this is not possible... at the point we are now...


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Parrot  Identity Verified
Spain
Local time: 17:43
Member (2002)
Spanish to English
+ ...
The concept (or perception, or discovery) precedes the word Aug 11, 2003

murat karahan wrote:

Is there any language in the world where the word precedes the concept? No.


Henry had a long posting on this subject, which stemmed from the topic of "untranslateables": http://www.proz.com/topic/117


What I'm trying to say is that the same process that was used in the creation of new words in the source language, can be applied to the target language as well. Again, you have the meaning but lack the word. Why loan a word then instead of creating a new one just like it was created in the SL?


You probably opt for this approach because of your background in films. Getting the right language and register in this area has to be the product of a spontaneous, real-life perception. Dialogue sounds hollow without it.


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murat karahan  Identity Verified
Turkey
Local time: 18:43
English to Turkish
+ ...
TOPIC STARTER
Thanks for the link Aug 12, 2003

I was fortunate enough to read it last month thanks to recent comments. It's nice to see that some topics have a long life.
Anyway, you're right about the movie background and what's worse I'm in subtitling. You lack tools like subscripts therefore everything has to be translated and there's nothing like "untranslatable". Yet from time to time I suggested handing leafletts to the audience so that could be more comfortable in my translation.
I've also translated a long time for computer magazines and that's where I came across many new words and concepts. But we would always have meetings with computer professionals regularly and suggest new words. Those would be printed and the English words would be used in parantheses. I always believe that with some extra effort new words would find their equivalents in other languages.


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Heinrich Pesch  Identity Verified
Finland
Local time: 18:43
Member (2003)
Finnish to German
+ ...
Yes, there is Aug 13, 2003

Here in Helsinki exists an institution, which employs linguists for terminology research. Anyone can hire the services, but of course it is costly. The same is true for the other Northern countries, and there is an ongoing project for co-ordination of these institutions:
http://www.tsk.fi/nordterm/ (Scandinavia)
http://www.tsk.fi/ (Finland)


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