14. Technical texts and terminology management
Technical texts have a syntax of their own. Precision is the main characteristic feature of a technical text. It should be observed that the vocabulary of a technical text in its ideal form tends to exclude affective (=emotive) connotation. The writers of technical texts should keep to informative connotations and it is so, because the intention of any technical text is to avoid any arbitrary interpretation. Every technical text relies upon terminology. The term carries the main semantic load into a technical text. A term is a technical word used in a particular subject: physics, law, some kind of sports or lang-ge study. It’s used in any specific field. The main characteristic feature of a term is that it is monosemantic. It is emotionally neutral and precise. In this respect a term differs from a word, that belongs to the common-core vocabulary. The main challenge for the translator, that all these characteristic features of a term characterize it to a certain degree. There are terms that are monosemantic, but such terms are very rare. Ex.: hydrogen, oxygen. If we take the simple term “switch” it may mean – включатель, переключатель, коммутатор. Sometimes the terms may carry emotional aspect and in a way they depend upon it. Ex.: in full blast = полной тягой; the wire is alive = провод под напряжением. One of the most important aspects of a translator’s job is to manage terminology.
The syntax of a technical text is complex, and it’s a complex task for a translator. On the one hand, writers of technical texts use gerundial, participial constructions, sometimes these texts are intelligible for the common reader. But not long ago English and American scientific and technical texts became more reader friendly. The sentences have become shorter and more expressive, they avoid complex, ambiguous structures, use metaphor and even jokes. But Russian technical texts remain the same. This discrepancy preserve the main challenge for a translator. The main aim is to make such texts clear and synthetically neutral. The range of meaning, in which a word may be used, may be very wide. Ex.: table – стол, таблица, парта; board - доска; plate – плита, дощечка; a tablet – скрижаль. Some words can have figurative meaning. Ex.: engine – машина, двигатель + локомотив; oil – масло, смазочный материал + нефть.
Classification of vocabulary of technical and scientific texts
Speaking about tech. & scient. vocab., we should know that dict-s contain mostly literary vocab. Even some cases of tech. vocab. (small percentage) can not help much. => rely on the context.
2 types of context.:
1 – Locutionary situation. TL contains a notion & a w-d, possessing the same m-g.
2 – Perlocutionary cont. deals with messages, that are peculiar of the TL culture & don’t exist int the TL culture. (e.g.: “smart board” – сенсорная панель = a board that c.b. used as a computer)
Approach I – 3 strata:
2.general scientific & techn. vocab. (this layer comprises w-s used in techn. & scientific texts, no matter to what sphere they belong, for they describe the process of research);
3.common core vocabulary.
Approach II – 2 strata:
2.non-terms – w-s that function to describe tech. & scient. phenomena. They acquire specific m-g accord. to the situation. This layer is subdivided into 3 substrata accord. to the relative importance of the w-d & its function in tech. & scient. texts.
•nuclear (ядерный) vocab.: w-s used in all tech. & scient. techts, no matter what sphere they belong to. Used to describe process & object of investigation. Used in texts of fundamental scientific research & applied research too. (e.g.: application, development, analysis, background, technique)
•w-s of everyday use: special situation dealing with investigation & its results, the problems of implementation & dissemination of results (= внедрение и распространение рез-тов). They belong to general scientific vocab. & carry out the same function, they used for specifying the characteristic of the process. They represent diffr. parts of speech, may acquire qualitative & quantitative features, depending upon the nature of the text. They aren’t easy to translate => challenge.
•functional w-s show attitude. They are characteristic not only scientific vocab. More often used in some types of discourse (“therefore” – casual relations)
As we c. see the gener. tech. & scient. vocab. is heterogenic. We c. speak about a certain flexibility in using these w-s. But one should look at dict-s & be able to find the neces. m-g.
Technical texts and terminology management
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14. Technical texts and terminology management