New England Translators Association
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Dealing with Terminology Drift

  • 24 Mar 2018
  • 2:00 PM - 4:00 PM
  • 750 Commonwealth Avenue, Boston, Room 204

Our speaker, Bruce Popp, started using the expression “terminology drift” to describe a phenomenon he observed when checking his own translation work and editing that of others. The term refers to the use of a different word or expression in the target text for the same word or expression in the source text. There seem to be several causes of terminology drift (or more generally, inconsistency). The main cause may be a gradually increasing awareness of the context of the notion involved that can come with repeated exposure to the word or expression. That awareness may lead to new and better choices for its rendering in the target text. As this suggests, terminology drift can be beneficial; however, if more than one translation is used for rendering a given word or phrase, the consequences have to be very carefully considered before the text is delivered to the client. Bruce will discuss how to deal with terminology drift with specific reference to certain features in Trados as well as with examples gleaned from his own work.

Bruce D. Popp is an ATA-certified translator for French into English with a BA in physics from Cornell University and a PhD in astrophysics from Harvard University. He is also a U.S. Patent and Trademark Office registered patent agent. As a professional translator, he performs premium-quality translations of scientific and technical documents, especially patent applications. As an independent scholar, he is applying his love of astrophysics, mathematics and French to understanding the work of Henri Poincaré. Bruce is the recipient of the 2017 S. Edmund Berger Prize for Excellence in Scientific and Technical Translation.


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