Stars, problem children, dogs and cash cows: evocative terminology in multilingual business communication
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Original versionSYNAPS - A Journal of Professional Communication 26(2013)
Terminology, the vocabulary of specialized knowledge domains, exists and evolves in the ongoing negotiation process of societal dynamics. The dynamics of a domain can be traced in its textual archives by keeping track of the terminological variation over a period of time. In recent years text-based terminology research has explored the linguistic representation of knowledge in texts with the aim of building high quality terminological resources. The systematic exploration of text corpora resulted in interesting data on term creation and terminological variation. Empirical evidence showed that terminological variation within a knowledge domain cannot be explained without insight in the origin and history of the terminology. We try and point out some parameters influencing the dynamics of understanding and the role of terminology creation therein, starting from a number of examples of evocative language and metaphor in the domain of finance, accounting and banking. Specialists have resorted to evocative language and imagery in their English language communication and this has resulted in the coinage of metaphorically motivated terminology. The issue of societal dynamics is looked at in a multilingual setting. Several examples of terminology creation based on metaphorical understanding and their (in)translatability are discussed. Finally, we tentatively investigate what can happen to metaphorical and evocative language in a translated European text on the financial crisis.