Trans Internet-Zeitschrift für Kulturwissenschaften 16. Nr. April 2006

14.1. Re-Shaping Eastern Communities’ Patterns through the European Union Context
Herausgeberin | Editor | Éditeur: Anca Irinel Teleoacă ( "Lower Danube" University, Galati, Romania)

Dokumentation | Documentation | Documentation

Analysis And Translation Approach To Specialized Language

Crina Herteg (University "1st December" Alba Iulia, Romania)


I. Language and linguistic change

It is well-known that a language is a living and a dynamic body, with a continuous development, and permanently subject to innovation. This phenomenon of development in a language is linked with the fact that any language has to change (phonetically, graphically, lexically, semantically, morphologically) in order to reflect and respond to the needs of native speakers. Consequently, the pace of change in the structure of a language is dictated by the evolution of society, by social, economic and historical factors. Theories have emerged trying to explain this concept of innovation: a) naturalist theories explain the linguistic change by means of climate and geographical background; b) the theory of tendencies - promoted by the French linguist Antoine Meillet - state that languages which belong to the same family of languages are characterized by identical tendencies which can bring about identical linguistic changes even when the relationships between these families of languages cease to exist.

Language renewal differs from country to country; for instance, in countries with a powerful industry and economy, new words are obtained internally:

  1. using the already existing sources;
  2. modifying the existing resources by
    1. a narrowing of meaning
    2. an extension of meaning
  3. composition
  4. derivation
  5. change in the morphological value rather than external borrowings.

Language serves as a means of communication, not only within society, but also with societies outside of the language community, and consequently some of them transgress the borders of a country, as it now happens with English which has become the new lingua franca in business, IT, and media. As far as Romanian vocabulary is concerned, it has lately been enriched mainly by external means: by borrowings of fashionable and technical neologisms, mostly from English. The areas most subject to lexical innovations are specialized languages, such as media, IT, and economics.

The neologisms, that have been introduced in Romanian at certain points in its evolution, account for these needs of development; not only has it been enriched by means of borrowing neologisms but it has also borrowed so-called "international" terms, words which gained international use. Each country has to adopt (or not) these terms, if it wants to globalise and internationalise its economy, being aware (or not) of the fact that the pressures of competition force companies and economies to internationalise, otherwise they begin to wither.


II. Borrowings and technical neologisms

In the past few years, Romanian has been the subject of many changes, as it has turned itself into a great importer of words, especially of English origin. After having followed the French and German trend, nowadays it seems that Romanian and Romanians try to keep up with Europe and Europeans and integrate, at least, linguistically as English origin words are spreading and penetrating our language more and more. We can even say that there is almost no field of activity in which such words haven`t penetrated; more than that, the tendency has become dominant. Many are the reasons facilitating the enrichment of our language with English-origin terms, among these we may quote just a few: the development of technology, of trade, and of the economy. Economic, social and political factors play an important role in enriching a language by means of borrowings; in countries where such relationships are non-existent, words of foreign origin penetrate with more difficulty, if at all. The boom in technology and industry smoothed the path towards the exchange of information between countries and, as a result, new terms are introduced in order to cover the new realities that are coming up in these domains fast.

Similarly, trade and population migration represent another cause of change, and many words belonging to commerce and transportation have entered Romanian: voucher, trailer, discount. The Romanian native speakers need to borrow such terms because these can facilitate communication between Romanian business owners and European / world traders. Nowadays, it is almost impossible for business owners of different origins to get along, sign contracts and establish business partnerships without resorting to terms connected with economics and business, mainly of English origin, which spread all over Europe and became international terms. Newly coined terms appear, some translated, some adjusted, brands (kodack) are turned into common nouns and used in daily speech, some of them have a short life and soon become obsolete (especially those belonging to daily speech), some others enter the common core vocabulary (standard language, specialized language).


III. Integration and assimilation of borrowings

The newly introduced terms, especially those belonging to a specialized vocabulary, cannot be left aside as they reflect the novelties which occurred in those domains. These usually join a new concept non-existent in TL, and if we want to clearly understand the meaning of these terms and use them properly we need a good command of them. Specialized languages are the greatest suppliers of neologisms in a language, a branch of applied linguistics - terminology - emerged in order to prevent the wrong and ambiguous assimilation, to give coherence and adjust these terms in accordance with the organic rules governing TL. Terminology is aimed at both researching and inventoring technical vocabulary; it does not deal with coining new terms or words and it is rather focussed on finding new equivalents for the words of foreign origin. The methods which terminology relies on - identification, analysis, creation of new terms - turn it into a practical application, rather than a science, and it works by making the difference between term and concept. Terminology works on two levels: 1) functional - which means facilitating communication and 2) conceptual - newly created terms must follow certain requirements: they must be pronounced easily, they must be concise, they must enable the formation of new terms with the help of affixes, they must be correct from a liguistical point of view, it is also advisable that the newly created term should not have many spellings. It is terminology that makes these connections and establishes the relationship between semantics, lexicology and exact sciences and deals with adjusting and adopting foreign origin words to the needs of TL.

Specialized terms imply very complex translation problems and translators are not the only persons involved in this process: Romanian specialists in the field of technology, linguists and translators put their minds together to find the equivalent which better covers the reality expressed by the English lexical unit. When finding equivalents, specialists must take into account the following requirements: create/find a term which should be productive, which should not develop and have synonyms or homonyms and of course which should be in accordance with the syntactical rules of the language. Many technical and scientific terms are obtained in Romanian by literal translation and confixation (A. Martinet, 1970:135).

Some of the most common ways through which Romanian "imports" English origin words are:

1. literal translation, graphical and phonetical modification - the same conceptual identity:

condominium (EN) > condominiu (RO); copropriété (FR)
interface (EN) > interfata (RO)
consumérisme (FR) > consumerism (RO); consumerism (EN);

We can read these in the following examples taken from Romanian:

a) "Dacă susţinătorii consumerismului pun la îndoială eficienţa cu care sistemul de marketing satisface nevoile consumatorului, ecologiştii sunt preocupaţi de efectele activităţii de marketing asupra mediului înconjurător."(1)

b) "In Romania miscarea consumerista este in plina afirmare."(2)

audit (EN) > audit(RO) - change in pronunciation
media ( EN) > media(RO) - change in pronunciation
timing strategies (EN) > strategii detiming (RO)

a) "Strategii de timing-acestea concretizează toate aspectele temporale ale constituirii şi mentinerii avantajelor concurentiale comparative"(3).

b) "Strategiile de timing constituie a doua grupă de aternative în cadrul strategiilor câmpurilor de afaceri" (4).

marketing mix (EN) >mix de marketing (RO)

marketer (EN) - which can be translated as operator de marketing/ specialist in marketing (RO), but the English form with Romanian inflection (marketerul); Sometimes, marketerului is preferred in specialized texts. Let’s take an example:

a) "Marketerului ca specialist în domeniul marketingului i se cere realizarea legăturilor dintre reglementările emanate de la structurile supranaţionale"(5).




budget deficit






direct debit

modular furniture











manufacturare: e.g.industrie manufacturieră


deficit bugetar

baza/banca de date





debitare directa

mobila modulara

2. the foreign term is adopted without being modified graphically or phonetically in the specialized languages of:





web/ website

Web designer




know-how: "tehnologie know-how"

dumping: "preţ de dumping"



credit card



















As it can be seen in the examples above, many of the terms, especially technical terms, cannot be translated by a single word, this might be a reason why the English terms are preferred.

3. words which came into being by an extention of meaning:

Even in cases when there is an equivalent in Romanian there is the tendency to use English terms:

4. words of English origin which are used in daily speech although there is an equivalent in Romanian

These are basically used in newspapers, magazines, TV: (a) cash,(b)discount that are used more and more by sales representatives, traders and shop assistants, despite the fact that the word has a Romanian equivalent; it is already accepted in Romanian.

(c) Copyright ia another example of using English words as such. It appears on almost every book printed in Romania. (d) Feedback was firstly adopted in psychology; it subsequently extended to economics, and is presumably preferred because it is shorter than its Romanian equivalent: conexiune inversa/ retroactiune/ retroactiune inversa/ cauzalitate inelara/lant cauzal inchis. (e) In the field of banking, the abbreviation ATM - standing for Automated Teller Machine - is being used more and more widely; although there is an equivalent term in Romanian - bancomat - it is mainly preferred by bank clerks, and it has also spread to common use. Similar cases are:




off shore

loan show-biz


The channels through which the latter category of words penetrates TL is the media, the internet, daily speech, by persons who who do not have linguistic training, the result is that the words are simply copied in TL: cocteille (FR) - cocteil (RO):

"Astazi, acest cocteil este atit de popular, incat nu lipseste din meniul local." (Jurnalul National, Vineri, 13 ianuarie 2006).

Words which still present variations in inflection are inflected according to the Romanian rules:

"Lobby-istii americani actioneaza in societati supuse tuturor reglementarilor fiscale si legale, ca orice alte companii." (Jurnalul National, Vineri, 13 ianuarie 2006).

Some newspaper articles prefer to give a non-translated version of these terms:

"Desi ne aratam muschii in prime-time, ne acundem sub poalele matusii...." (Jurnalul National, Vineri, 13 ianuarie 2006)

"Piata futures si options ne-a oferit si in aceasta saptamana posibilitati interesante de castig." (Evenimentul zilei, Miercuri,1 februarie, 2006, article, Evolutia bursei de la Sibiu)

There are equivalents for these terms in Romanian, but they are used in this form due to the fact that specialists understand them perfectly and they do not seem to need any translation. On the other hand, there are the non-specialists who are not acquainted with the specialized vocabulary and, consequently, find it hard to understand the terms.

Some other terms, included in the category mentioned above, are taken over (they are not really borrowed) out of snobbery: fashion adviser- (newspapers, magazines and TV prefer to use the English term); brandused as such in the various fields of media and economics; High tech, which has a Romanian translation by tehnologie de varf, is preferred in the English form.

In the case of such words, the trends in speech, as the trends in fashion, influence words and their usage; so when something new arises a new brand and a new word may come into being, which later on becomes obsolete, and as a consequence new words replace old ones.

Technical neologisms present morphological difficulties as regards inflection - some rules can be applied in these situations:


know how



know hows


As regards borrowing abbreviations they have different treatments:

  IV. Conclusions

Borrowings represent a normal and desirable phenomenon in the evolution of a language; they enrich the language, they develop synonyms and synonymy, sometimes they come to replace old words and help speakers keep up with the novelties in technology, communications. Some of the borrowed terms are necessary, in the sense that they are introduced, because there is no equivalent to join the newly introduced concept, and some develop as synomyms for words already existing in the vocabulary. The criterion of use imposes a foreign word in our vocabulary and dictates its life, it is also the one that establishes whether the newly introduced words should keep their original pronunciation or should be adjusted to the rules and regulations of the target language. To introduce a new word means to adjust, to assimilate and to modify it, to integrate it graphically, phonetically - which is very difficult as there are always many alternative pronunciations of a word, - and morphologically. The difficulty in the phonetical and graphical integration gives rise to mistranslations: e.g. location - mistranslated as locatie while the correct translation is amplasament; maintenance - mistranslated as mentenanta (in comision de mentenanta); the correct translations are intretinere, even administrare (comision de administrare).

In order to penetrate a language a new term must be in accordance with the following criteria: frequency, acceptability, ability to form new words. If we take into account the nationalist implications, then we should not accept the penetration of foreign origin terms and resort to our common core vocabulary, instead of using terms which are not likely to be understood by the great majority of speakers. Even the French who can sometimes be reluctant to use and adopt terms with an English origin (they still maintain the term ordinateur for computer and numerique for digital) have no choice but to use these terms of English origin: faire du shopping, hardware. If we take into account the criterion of age, we will see that people over 40 who might not have access to computers or specialized magazines (IT, finances, advertising) find it hard to at least recognize, rather than understand the meaning of such words as: chat, e-mail, and so on.

As shown above, some of these words are necessary and they will be naturalized (football > fotbal); some are either trendy or snobbish; therefore, they might die, lose vitality and be replaced by new words (milieu is nowadays replaced by environnement). There is the danger of an excessive use of words with an English origin that might lead to a hybridisation, to an artificiality of language, but, at the same time, if banned, the process will stop the natural development and the ability of the language to sediment and preserve what it needs and, ultimately, this will lead to a sterile purism.

© Crina Herteg (University "1st December" Alba Iulia, Romania)


(1) Pistol, Gh. M.- Marketing, Editura Fundaţiei "România de Mâine", Bucureşti, 1999-p.58.

(2) Pistol, Gh. M. -Marketing, Editura Fundaţiei "România de Mâine", Bucureşti, 1999-p.57

(3) Pop. Al. Nicolae (coordonator) - Marketing strategic, p.49

(4) Pistol, Gh. M.- Marketing, Editura Fundaţiei "România de Mâine", Bucureşti, 1999-p.56.

(5) Pistol, Gh.-Marketing, Editura Fundaţiei Romania de Mâine, Bucureşti,1999.

(6) Very popular nowadays although it has a Romanian equivalent (împrumut), many companies include the term in their name: a cumpara în leasing.

(7) It can be rendered by means of bonificatie, but bonus has a larger frequency.

(8) Used in the technology of filming: deplasarea aparatului de luat vederi prin travelling.

(9) DEX. Dictionarul Explicativ al limbii romane. Bucuresti: Univers enciclopedic. 1998. p.1174

(10) Idem. ibid. p.1102

(11) Idem. ibid. p.1174


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a: Jurnalul National. Vineri, 13 ianuarie 2006
b: Evenimentul zilei. Miercuri.1 februarie. 2006

14.1. Re-Shaping Eastern Communities’ Patterns through the European Union Context

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