Whether or not we realize it, on a daily basis, we do certain things that make our language harder for others to understand. In many instances though, it is nothing that we consciously do: it is more of a product of our different cultures, different languages, as well as how each language associates specific terms with specific concepts.
Still, today’s word goes a long way into explaining what makes obtaining a coherent and effective translation so difficult.
Initially, coming from the German Terminologie, a combination of the Medieval Latin terminus, meaning ‘word or expression,’ and the Greek logia, meaning ‘dealing with or pertaining to’ created by Christian Gottfried Schütz, our word Terminology is, essentially, the concept of the proper usage of words.
First appearing in the English translation of Jacob Friedrich, Baron von Bielfeld’s, work, The Elements of Universal Erudition, by William Hooper in 1770, the translation states that: “Many a satirist has roundly asserted that blazonry and physic become sciences merely by virtue of their terminology”.
Expanding on von Bielfeld’s statement as the Victorian world expanded understanding and opened new scientific frontiers, biologist and staunch Darwinism advocate, Thomas Henry Huxley, in his work on the study of Zoology, The Crayfish (1880), notes that: “Every calling has its technical terminology.”.
In the field of translation, along with differing terminologies within the same language, there is the added complication of structure and terminology in another language.
And getting into the issues facing translation in specific industries, terminology is an essential part of corporate communication, and furthermore, every corporation is likely to have a unique terminology that is an important carrier of information and that helps with differentiation and branding.
If this seems complicated, that is because it is. Of course, this is only meant to show the difficulties between translating certain terminologies, and the pitfalls which can occur by using a cheap or unprofessional translation solution.