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Translating new technical terms: a pre-conference discussion
Thread poster: Csaba Ban

Csaba Ban  Identity Verified
Hungary
Local time: 21:47
Member (2002)
English to Hungarian
+ ...
Nov 7, 2005

There will be a discussion group in the 3rd Proz.com conference in Kraków on the issue of translation new technical terms.

As a host of this discussion group, now I would like to invite all interested parties, whether visiting the conference or not, to an open brainstorming session. My aim is to raise awareness of this issue and to make the most out of that one-hour discussion that we will have in the conference.

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Below you will find a description of this discussion group that I posted on the conference page:

"Technical" terms appear every day in many different fields, and not only in technology per se, but also in law, biology, finance, etc. Primarily, such terms appear or evolve in English first, but we, translators, have to find or even invent new terms for such cases.

- Searching for existing new terminology in the target language
- Leaving the term in original vs translating it
- How to "invent" a new term?
- What can we do to spread good practices, i.e. making our good solution widely accepted?
- What to do if the "established" new term in our target language is clearly wrong?
- How to choose from several possible translations? The way to standardizing a new term.
- Can translators influence the natural evolution of the language?

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I know that the practice of translating new technical terms differs from language to language.
German seems to be very adaptive of new English terms, while in France an academic body prepares an updated list of recommended translations. New English terms may infiltrate into Spanish as "false friends".
Historically, languages adopted technical terms from different source languages according era and subject area. My mother tongue, Hungarian, for example massively adopted "technical" terms early on: in medieval times, agricultural terms were adopted from surrounding Slavic languages. Over the centuries, scientific and legal terms were borrowed from Latin, military and skilled labour vocabulary from German. A hundred years ago the main source of financial and commercial vocabulary came from French, and recently just about everything comes from English.

Now I would like to invite YOU to share your experiences in YOUR mother tongue and YOUR area of speciality.

Csaba

[Edited at 2005-11-07 10:54]


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NancyLynn
Canada
Local time: 15:47
Member (2002)
French to English
+ ...
Please give us an update after the conference Nov 20, 2005

Hi Csaba,
This sounds like a very promising discussion.

I hope a report of your findings will be available afterwards!

Thanks

Nancy


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Pamela Brizzola  Identity Verified
Italy
Local time: 21:47
Member (2004)
English to Italian
+ ...
My 2 cents Nov 21, 2005

Dear Cbasa,
I'm interested in this session since I'm a technical translator from English into italian and would like to understand which are the best ways to keep always updated on technical issues, whether it is useful to subscribe to specific publications on the Internet, and which are the best sources for terminology checks.
Of course, I would be interested in my language combination (EN-IT), but I understand that you'll probably have a more general approach.
Look forward to meeting you in a few days time.
Pamela


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arterm  Identity Verified
Russian Federation
Local time: 22:47
Member (2002)
English to Russian
our practice in this field Nov 21, 2005

Here in Saratov, Russia we usually dig into current publications in the new field, then we dig into local search engines that are aware of Russian grammar and style. After having statistical data such as how often our proposed term occurs in other's texts, what is the nature of these texts: i.e. if they scientific or commercial; we decide on these and other factors whether the term is not only correct but is also usable.

From time to time we have to "invent" terms, but it is rare.

See you on the conference


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Robert Zawadzki  Identity Verified
Local time: 21:47
English to Polish
+ ...
My general approach Nov 21, 2005

My approach is to attempt to find the best translation and use it even if it is not the most widely accepted one, leaving an original term in parentheses on first occurrence and then using a Polish term consistently. Alas this approach sometimes leads to something similar to:

Polish1 (English1) jest Polish2 (English2) w Polish3 (English3).

[A Polish1 (English1) is a Polish2 (English2) in a Polish3 (English3).]

[Edited at 2005-11-21 13:26]

[Edited at 2005-11-21 13:27]


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Burrell  Identity Verified
United Kingdom
Local time: 20:47
Member (2004)
English to Latvian
+ ...
Latvian technical terms Nov 21, 2005

In my native language there is a serious lack of new technical terms, mostly because previously we adopted Russian terms, wheeas since the we got out independence back we have tried going away from Russian terms, plus there are new technologies that never existed in our soviet or post-soviet world.
If I am translating text on new type of machinery, chances are I would have to use terminology accepted in completely different area. If the terms seem to be used in several places over the net, I do not usually add the original in brackets, however if I had difficulties finding any reference to the term or there are different translations, I normally add original in brackets, which looks a lot like the previous post has already indicated. Not nice but not much else I can come up with.


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Effie Emmanouilidou  Identity Verified
Greece
Local time: 22:47
English to Greek
Similar approach Nov 23, 2005

ARTEM SEDOV wrote:

Here in Saratov, Russia we usually dig into current publications in the new field, then we dig into local search engines that are aware of Russian grammar and style. After having statistical data such as how often our proposed term occurs in other's texts, what is the nature of these texts: i.e. if they scientific or commercial; we decide on these and other factors whether the term is not only correct but is also usable.

From time to time we have to "invent" terms, but it is rare.



I would have to say that my experience with English into Greek is similar. I will usually google the term in English, adding a few words in Greek (so that it turns up pages in Greek) and hope to find sites where they have the English term, usually in brackets, with the Greek word. If the term seems correct and is used in most of the sites, I will use it.

See you all soon


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