Pages in topic:   < [1 2]
Thread poster: RHELLER

Derek Gill Franßen  Identity Verified
Local time: 07:34
German to English
+ ...
Coining new words... Nov 24, 2005

My two cents:

I honestly don't think that there is often the chance to coin a new word. It may have to do with my field of specialization, but I don't think I've ever, in the many years I've been translating, encoutered a situation, in which I felt the need to create a new word. I also think that if I ever do come across the odd term that I feel doesn't even have an approximate match in the target language, I will probably go right ahead and coin a new one - very much conscious of the fact that I am doing so for the first and probably last time in my career.

On the other hand, legal translations very often contain concepts and institutions that do not exist in the target language/culture. I - and many of my colleagues - often have to leave the name as is and provide a short explanation in brackets. I can't imagine coming up with a previously non-existing word instead of just describing the term: I would feel like I would be cheating.

IMHO, the main point of translating is to convey the meaning of the source text in the target language. This is not accomplished by coining new terms that are just as incoherent as the source (and in many cases even more so).

I think that if a translator is regularly creating words (or even more frequently than once or twice), this is a sign that the translator is not doing enough research into the matter and giving up too easily. Languages are amazingly flexible and able to convey the most diverse ideas, if you just give them a chance.


[Edited at 2005-11-24 13:41]


United States
Local time: 23:34
French to English
+ ...
thanks for many interesting comments Nov 25, 2005

Dear Friends,

Please excuse the late response. Yesterday was a special day in the U.S. - no working allowed. Just cooking, eating, spending time with family and friends. Yes, it is true. Even in the U.S., we occasionally take a day off.

I enjoyed reading the variety of comments, like:

Fareedeh said, "I suggested my colleagues (have) one site in internet to be designated to collect such terms, but until now I couldn't find and propose one mechanism in order to this idea be realized."

what a wonderful idea for the future of your language and a helpful tool for those who come after you! I know you struggled with finding appropriate terms to convey modern business terminology - even WE don't understand it all

Thanks Jeff, Michael Picone's book on the evolving French language looks interesting.

Derek brings up an opinion that is shared by many who translate INTO English. We really do not have to deal with this issue often...because many of the "new" terms are created in English, originating in the IT or business world.

That is precisely why I thought the propiska question was a good example for us to discuss.

To Andy:
I have been criticized in the past for my serious attitude. I apologize if that, in some way, makes this dialogue more difficult.

Here is my "response" but I am not defending any particular point of view; these are just my ideas.

1) deregister is not in my dictionary. is it in yours? if so, which dictionary are you using?

2) academic discussion, by definition, is "theoretical or speculative without a practical purpose or intention".

3)"But at least now I do know what you're driving at."
Really Andy? even though I specifically said I wasn't driving at anything? are you a mind reader?

Andy goes on to say "Simply because it isn't up to us. Translators (the same as "academics" in France or Spain) do not decide what comes into the language or what leaves."

This goes right to the heart of the issue and that is up for discussion IMO. So, have we advanced at all in this discussion? Perhaps we should use the new proz polling feature to ask our colleagues, "have you ever coined a new term while translating?"
or "should translators only use words in dictionaries?"

2 interesting sites:

podcast, supersize, offshoring

Bon (good) weekend to everyone!

[Edited at 2005-11-25 18:10]


Charlie Bavington (X)  Identity Verified
Local time: 06:34
French to English
Deregister is in the OED Nov 26, 2005

with the meaning "to remove from a register".

Which I must say, if it wasn't in the dictionary, is the meaning I would infer from de + register, i.e. the opposite of register.

I will concede that to use "deregister" in isolation for "propiska" might be a mistake inasmuch as it wouldn't be clear what sort of register was being referred to, but in this particular case, deregister seems a good starting point.

Not sure how that helps the rest of the discussion, though


Last Hermit
Local time: 13:34
Chinese to English
+ ...
Already into the SOED. Dec 28, 2005

propiska, noun.

[Russian = registration, residence permit, from propiskat' to register.]

In the Soviet Union and post-Soviet Russia: a permit entitling a person to reside (and therefore work) in a particular city or town.

Excerpted from The Shorter Oxford English Dictionary

Rita Heller wrote:

This seems to be a very hot topic for translators.

Definition: A new word, expression, or usage

My question for all of you: should the translator be the one to coin new terms? or should this be left to specialists in the field?

and: what should a translator do when no term in the target language accurately describes the source-language term? We recently had such an example in English monolingual kudoz, coming from the Russian.

Pages in topic:   < [1 2]

To report site rules violations or get help, contact a site moderator:

You can also contact site staff by submitting a support request »


Advanced search

PerfectIt consistency checker
Faster Checking, Greater Accuracy

PerfectIt helps deliver error-free documents. It improves consistency, ensures quality and helps to enforce style guides. It’s a powerful tool for pro users, and comes with the assurance of a 30-day money back guarantee.

More info »
Manage your TMs and Terms ... and boost your translation business

Are you ready for something fresh in the industry? TM-Town is a unique new site for you -- the freelance translator -- to store, manage and share translation memories (TMs) and glossaries...and potentially meet new clients on the basis of your prior work.

More info »

  • All of
  • Term search
  • Jobs
  • Forums
  • Multiple search