Spanish Translation of English Terms I

The translation of English terms is an artform that takes place everyday throughout the world. Whenever languages have come in direct contact with each other, either by virtue of geographical contiguity or as a result of mass migrations, they have affected each other. They have visibly modified each other´s lexicon, phonology, syntax and terms. With the proliferation of the mass media like television, cinema and even the Internet, even geographical and physical contiguity have ceased to matter. Languages now influence each other through television programs and movies. This is obviously the case with translation of English into Spanish.

Anglicism and Adopting English Words

Though it is said that languages affect each other, it would be more correct to say that English is affecting all other languages. English vocabulary is making inroads into all other languages of the world, including Spanish, which is why translation of English terms is a high demand. The phenomenon by which a foreign language adopts an English term or an English way of speaking is known as Anglicism. Anglicisms do not enjoy the favored status of well-accepted borrowings and should be distinguished from them. They are generally disregarded as incorrect and substandard, and are relegated to the status of usurpers of the native language.

Upsurge in Anglicisms

That there is a sudden upsurge in Anglicisms is widely acknowledged by all. The reasons for the upsurge have been traced to economy and globalization and the emergence of the U.S. as the only super-power in the world. Non-English speakers of the world view the upsurge of Anglicism as a threat to their native languages and cultures. They fear that Anglicisms are corrupting their native tongue, and, more seriously, stifling the capacity of their language to evolve by coining words and expressions.

Some Anglicisms have been a part of Spanish translation for quite a long time, and they have become a part of the mainstream vocabulary, for example, ‘el líder’ (‘leader’), ‘el boicot’ (‘boycott’) and ‘el mitin’ (‘meeting’). It must be noted that all the words have been orthographically modified to suit Spanish spelling and pronunciation. Some anglicisms in Spanish translation have become a part of mainstream vocabulary, in spite of concerted attempts to resist them with native alternatives. For example, the term ‘feedback´. The alternative proposed by the language academy of Spain, ‘retroalimentación´, could never establish itself except in technical circles.

Demand in Higher Education

The language academy of Spain is now attempting to counter Anglicisms in the field of science, technology and business because that is where the presence of Anglicisms is most pronounced. They have coined phrases such as ‘programas y sistemas para la computadora´ for ‘software´, ‘procesamiento de datos´ to refer to ‘data processing´ and ‘el equipo y las maquinarias de las computadoras´ to refer to ‘hardware´. It is doubtful if the Spanish translations will enjoy more than a limited usage because of the nature of the translations themselves. They are clumsy compound words where nouns and adjectives have been joined together with prepositions and articles.

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