Neologisms - seeking a consensus
Thread poster: neilmac

neilmac  Identity Verified
Spain
Local time: 15:47
Spanish to English
+ ...
Mar 27, 2014

Prompted by a recent kudoz query in my ES-EN pair (agentes neumoagresores) I'm wondering if there is a forum thread about the use and abuse of neoligisms and how we should approach them as translators.

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Giles Watson  Identity Verified
Italy
Local time: 15:47
Italian to English
Depends on context Mar 27, 2014

The Kudoz answer chosen was "(respiratory) bacterial pathogens", which is more of an explanation/hypernym than a translation.

However, it looks like a good solution since the context will have provided the "neumo-" notion already and the only discourse-new information in "agentes neumoagresores" is likely to be "pathogens" (even "bacterial" is an addition to what is in the text, albeit a reasonable one). The fact that the adjective is a neologism is of secondary importance and in this case, an English neologism would probably draw too much attention to what is not really the point of the Spanish.

In other circs, though, a neologism might be the focus of attention and you would have to reflect this in your translation. One good rule of thumb, at least for Italian and I imagine for Spanish, is that if the neologism is in scare quotes, it's probably worth spending some time on finding an elegant equivalent. If not, check that the writer isn't using the neologism - it's often a compound form like "neumoagresor" - as shorthand to get ideas across quickly, in which case you can just go for the briefest solution.

FWIW

[Edited at 2014-03-27 10:35 GMT]


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