The personal computer has become an affordable and essential part of our lives. These machines are used in our homes, schools, universities, businesses, and institutions, and they can be used for almost any purpose. Ordinary people, scientists, government officials, students, children and every one in between has benefitted from this amazing device.
The Language of Technology
Information technology, or IT, is especially specific in its terminology, because it includes terms concerning objects created in developed countries. Therefore, this terminology has (almost without exception) foreign origins for someone from a country where Macedonian is spoken.
A challenge for Macedonian speakers arises because of this, allowing for two outcomes: should their language risk being overloaded with terms borrowed from English, or should linguistic purism be exercised? A third possibility, one to which we should aspire, would be to find a balance between the first two options.
Examples of Translation in the MIS Dictionary
Needing one dictionary to decipher another is not a helpful solution. An international dictionary or rulebook is what would benefit non-English speaking countries the most. First, it is necessary to develop a methodology, according to the terms and processes involved. The Ministry of Informatics Society’s (MIS) dictionary, for example, offers no glossary, has no criterion in the selection of words, and even includes a completely neutral terminology that is not part of IT terminology:
Clock = часовник
Rule = правило
Task = задача
User = корисниик
Some words that have been included are not interpreted in the same way: some are translated (“folder” = папка, which can also be translated as “directory,” “desktop” = работна површина, which can also be translated as “work surface”), and some are descriptively described (“online” = “the line is on,” “offline” = “the line is off”). The principle of interpretation in a dictionary should be the same, with a particular methodology, or it will otherwise create confusion.
A neologism is something like the word “gadget,” which may have one of the funniest translations in Macedonian. According to MIS, the term “gadget” is equivalent to dzidze, a word used in children’s speech and means “cute” (or attractive, colorful, shiny). Incredibly, the MIS formalized this as a professional term.
Other Examples of Translated Terminology
Provider, as in Internet service = испорачувач, also can be translated as “deliverer”
Laptop = пренослив компјутер (portable computer)
Character spacing = меѓузнаковно растојание
Accessibility wizard = волшебник за пристап (wizard for approach)
Check box = поле за избор (field for choice)
Tile image = сликоред (pictures in a row)
What Shouldn’t Be Translated?
IT terms would generally be split as words which would only be used by experts in the field, such as end-users of technology penetrated into everyday life. Considering that the language of science (in any field) exceeds the natural barriers of human languages, and that the basic purpose of any communication is to create understanding, terms that are only used by IT experts should remain in their original form (e.g., as is the case with Latin terms in medicine). Such words would have no meaning for anyone that is not a programmer, and their translation or transcription would not function in the context of understanding. Use your own judgment if you must translate technical terminology, and transcribe in a way that serves the purpose of comprehensibility.