Terms as dynamic entities: problems and solutions in translation
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OriginalversjonSYNAPS - A Journal of Professional Communication 13(2003) pp.35-54
It is a common assumption that technical terms and their meanings can be more easily matched across special languages than in general language. While there may be some truth in this assumption for a subset of terms, the overall picture is a more complex one, in which phraseology, the linguistic neighbourhood of terms, and semantic variation, the perspectivisation of meaning, play a role in the decisions taken by the specialist translator. In this paper, I would like to discuss some examples of how technical terms behave in text as opposed to dictionaries, and to relate this to selected aspects of the literature on translation, terminology and linguistics. We will also look at the resources available to specialist translators in the form of dictionaries or ‘terminologies’, and texts, relating these to the problems which such translators may face in their work. Let us start with the system-use dichotomy represented by the relationship between dictionaries (system) and texts (language use).