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Bulletin of the Transilvania University of Braov

Series V: Economic Sciences Vol. 7 (56) No. 2 - 2014


Ioana-Paula ARMSAR1

Abstract: Without presenting features different from those of the national

language as regards grammar structures or the basic vocabulary, specialized
languages raise terminology and contextualization problems, which, in the
case of specialized translations, require certain competences from the part of
translators, whether they are linguists or specialists in the field. They have to
consider the synchronization of notions and conceptual equivalences, and to
stay constantly tuned to the terminology dynamics. There are many
circumstances in which the economic language demonstrates the quality of
being a living language and, at the same time, a very technical language. The
present article introduces certain issues related to specialized translations
within the field of economics and the possible solutions to overcome them,
taking into account only those translations which have Romanian, French or
English as a source language, respectively as a target language.

Key words: translation, source language, target language, specialized

language, terminology, economics.

1. Introduction linguists or professional translators? In this

respect, translators have the triple
As compared to translations considered advantage of mastering phrases, of being
generally (which still offer generous issues used to formulating sentences and familiar
for debates), specialized translations to the way language functions. It is their
suppose knowledge and command of the duty to keep a sharp look at the coherence
specialized notions and terms specific to of the terminology at the level of
the field to which they belong. Specialized synchronizing notions, associating
languages give the name of specialized denominations and concepts in each
translations. The main issue connected to language in order to check the possible
translating from and into a specialized direct equivalence or the existence of
language, irrespective of the field, regards peculiarities coming from the language or
the competences translators should have. scientific culture under consideration. A
Should such a translation be performed by diachronic analysis will allow them to
specialists in the field, having good avoid losing contact with the evolution and
knowledge both of the source and of the dynamics of the terminology, as well as to
target language, or is this the task of reach a certain level of technical

Department of Literature and Cultural Studies, Faculty of Letters, Transilvania University of Brasov.
252 Bulletin of the Transilvania University of Braov Series V Vol. 7 (56) No. 2 - 2014

knowledge, taking into account the fact language to penetrate into the specialized
that the two are closely related to the one, as, via resemantisation (analogy or
advancement of specialized languages [4]. metaphoric use are essential), they acquire
In fact, the translators art (whether they the status of specialized terms. Sometimes,
are economists, as the case is for our such meaning movements take place under
discussion, linguists or people of letters) the influence of other languages Romanian
consists in mastering terminology and was or still is in contact with. Thus, the
writing techniques, knowing the terminological meaning of the word aciuni
conventions specific to each type of text (shares): securities which represent a certain
(research study, popularisation document part of a companys capital and which offer
etc.) and having the capacity to meet the their owner the right to receive dividends,
authors needs and the challenges of the was transferred from French. The transfer of
text. a word from general use into a specialized
After all, the translation act resides in language by amplifying its semantic
overcoming polysemy or ambiguities and structure with a new meaning is a process
in rephrasing information from one which specialists call terminologization.
linguistic code to another, allowing the Many words in the common language are
message to be conveyed from the source terminologized due to the combination of
text into the target language, in terms of words with a terminological character (for
communication, mediation or message. As example, in Romanian blocad economic,
regards the precision of translations, bani ghea, pre de pia, pre de cost, vad
considering their purposes and the comercial, pachet de aciuni etc.) or by
distancing from the source text, the result means of transfers from other languages (for
may reside in translations as adaptation, Romanian, the most frequent sources are
scholarly translations or literary ones. If in French and English: cont descoperit, vnzare
the case of texts other than specialized en gros, plat cash, intrare free etc.).
ones, the translation in spirit is of primary Although everyday language and
importance, not necessarily a text specialized languages use the same
translated literally, for the texts written in phonetics and grammar, the differences
specialized languages emphasis is given to become manifest especially as regards the
closeness in the sense of functionality. lexis (lexical systems are formed with
Thus, the notion of closeness towards the meanings isolated from the common
text (considering the language under language), in which nouns prevail. They
discussion, Romanian, English, French, as are followed by verbs, adjectives and
either source or target) is perceived by the adverbs. Thus, for exemplification, if in
translator taking into account the the Romanian common language nouns
circumstances in which the translation is such as scar, camer, cutie, corp are easy
performed, what anglophone translators to understand without determiners, in the
call the translation situation. To translate specialized language, a determinant is
means, first of all, to understand. imperative in order to delimitate the
terminological fields: (techn.) scar
2. Translation trends in the economic rulant; (mus.) scar muzical; (phys.)
specialized languages scara duritii; (techn.) camera de
comand; camera de sunet; (mil.) camera
It is a well-known fact that the semantic cartuului; (techn.) cutie de viteze; (mus.)
derivation process, as a way to enrich cutie de rezonan; (med.) cutie cranian;
vocabulary, allows words from the common (jur.) corp delict; (chem.) corp simplu;
I.-P. ARMSAR: Aspects of Specialized Translations in the Field of Economics 253

(med.) corp strin; (techn.) corp de liter. theoretical or practical activity use the
Conversely, the penetration of words from standard literary language, in which they
specialized languages into everyday introduce the necessary terms to designate
language is mostly due to the media and notions characteristic to the respective
the Internet, as well as to the attempts to field of activity. By the technologization of
vulgarize the realities named. Taken out of daily life, the migration of lexical elements
the context, of their professional field, from the technical and scientific area
these words are typically considered towards the usual lexis is on the increase.
neologisms and professionalisms in the Explanatory dictionaries register this
system of literary language, being phenomenon, including terms that belong
understood and only occasionally used by to different specialized fields. According to
speakers who do not belong to the the level of complexity and functionality,
professional area under discussion (for specialized translations reveal some types
example: remanier, entamer, modique, of texts: scientific texts (books, articles,
honoraires, target, dealer, board, pool, monographs etc.), functional texts (official
deadline, brand, discount and many letters, contracts, regulations, reports etc.),
others). Although the morphological utilitarian texts (technical or pharmaceuti-
adaptation of anglicisms arises many cal instructions, recommendations etc.),
adaptation problems to Romanian, taking technical texts (specifically denotative).
into account the differences between the According to A. Guu, the process of
two grammar systems, there is, still, an translating a text into a specialized
extension of the words meaning according language is characterized by the following:
to the English model (to the detriment of 1.the semasiological stage (which is
French) under the form of the semantic connected to the text form in the source
transfer: a aplica also acquires the language), when translators have to:
meaning a solicita un post/funcie, a face o define their uncertainties, establish the
cerere, from the English to apply(for), comprehension level, delimitate the
ataament takes the recent meaning anex semantic and terminological units,
of the English word attachment, apreciere conduct terminological research;
becomes cretere, from the English 2.the onomasiological stage (which is
appreciation etc. The specialized language, connected to the meaning of the text,
developed from the common one, is both in the source and in the target
characterized especially by clarity and language), when translators have to:
concision. It precisely defines or describes establish the necessary precision level
concepts, creating its own, purely for the target audience, to find the
denotative and monosemantic terminology. appropriate terminology to render
Specialized languages can only be meaning, to choose an appropriate form
introduced with the help of the current (univocal, clear and precise), to control
language, their basic concepts being meaning (internal and external
defined by means of this language only coherence) and form (spelling, syntax,
and the terms subsequently deduced being terminology) [3]. In order to translate a
obtained from these basic concepts with specialized text, one needs, first of all, to
the help of logical thinking. Given that decode it. The decoding of the
specialized languages do not have other specialized text consists in
peculiarities as regards grammar structures comprehending the conceptual nucleus
or the basic vocabulary than the national of the terminological notions used in the
language, specialists in a particular field of text. The concept makes reference to the
254 Bulletin of the Transilvania University of Braov Series V Vol. 7 (56) No. 2 - 2014

extra-linguistic reality. The importance decided to establish inter-ministerial

of the extra-linguistic reality in the case commissions of terminology, comprising
of specialized texts is different from that both specialists in economics and
of the common lexis. academicians, commissioned to find
In many circumstances, the economic translations for these terms, often felt as a
language demonstrates its quality of being threat to the integrity of the French
a living language and, at the same time, a language (1985 saw the establishment of
very technical one, which makes reading La commission de terminologie
difficult for lay people. If economic conomique et financire, attached to The
journalists who address the large public Ministry of Economy and Finances in
have the obligation to popularize France). Despite the activity of these
information, it is impossible for them not commissions and of the efforts generally
to resort to the latest specialized terms in made against the introduction of terms
economics, which appear as opaque to the directly from English, neologisms do not
uninitiated. Nowadays readers of economic await their equivalent. In Romanian, one
texts are less disarmed than in the past, due can sometimes see an excessive use of
to Internet sites, aimed specifically at anglicisms, not only in the economic and
vulgarizing information, whereas subtleties financial field, but even in everyday
still remain the appanage of specialists. language, a fact which can be explained by
The economic language, permanently the avidity with which Romanians have
connected to the ever-changing reality, tried to skip some development stages, an
generates numerous registers, thus attitude triggered by the complex of falling
resorting to medicine, the automotive field, behind caused by the fifty years of
army, meteorology etc. (both French and communism. To a certain extent, Romania
Romanian use such expressions; we give is still positioned under the sub empire of
only the French variant, out of reasons of the forms without a meaning in certain
text fluidity: camper sur ses positions, fields.
retraite prudente des investisseurs, tomber Terminology represents not only an
en panne, mcanisme gripp, colmater les integral part of the lexis specific to the
brches, traitement de choc, march en economic language, but also one of its
pleine convalescence, chute du baromtre, defining features, which, together with
embellie/accalmie etc.). Conversely, those other language means, gives its status of
who edit documents such as annual specialized language. The building of the
company reports, economic studies, economic terminology system is a complex
communiqus of central banks etc. favour and permanent process, which is
a more academic style, of a high technical accomplished with all the means to enrich
level, not making use of personifications vocabulary (external, internal and mixed).
and metaphors, which would make the text Knowing and explaining economic terms
difficult to understand and translate. As in light of their origin often represents an
regards economic neologisms introduced important stage for a more efficient
in French and Romanian from English, assimilation.
there is the explanation of the The economic specialized language is
terminological challenge, given by the divided into sub-fields, so that there is a
dominance of the USA in the economic commercial language, a language of
world over the last decades. Faced to the transportation, one connected to finance,
increasing number of neologisms come insurance, human resources, management,
from English, the French state even tourism etc. They are all constitutive parts
I.-P. ARMSAR: Aspects of Specialized Translations in the Field of Economics 255

of the economic language, but they each Just like the understanding of a text
represent one close linguistic sub-field requires both linguistic and extra-linguistic
comprised within economics, being used knowledge, in the case of translators of
interdisciplinary (for example, elements of economic texts (like in the case of
finance and accounting present in terms of professional translators) the linguistic
tourism and insurance, elements of human knowledge is supposed to have been
resources in terms connected to budget and theoretically acquired, the extra-linguistic
marketing etc.). In the economic one taking into account the times they live.
specialized language, the stages of Translators can easily resort to an optimum
translating texts from English or French documentation in order to have a clear
into Romanian differ from the general case view on a certain subject, either in the
only in point of the specific discourse, specialized literature or in magazines in the
lexical or stylistic features of the text field of economics, web sites, TV
given. After a thorough reading of the text programmes etc. The fact that they are up-
to be translated, in order to have a mental dated with the latest events in the reality
overview of what is to be transferred in they live in allows translators to fill in the
another language, after recognizing the gaps (for example, in a text about the
economic sub-field addressed, the register regionalization of Romania and the
of the text, and after detecting the administrative decentralization for making
difficulties regarding syntax or the expenditure more profitable, they can find
terminology itself, translators need to out in the audio-visual media that the
identify the context (for example, for necessary term for a translation would not
alternative, a noun or adjective in English, be efficacit, but rentabilit, not frais, but
energy alternatives is used in the field of dpenses; in another context, in order to
energy economics for the French translate oil-induced increases in
expression nergies de substitution, while Consumer Price Index rates, they will find
in the context of project economics project out that the price of the oil is to increase,
alternatives is used for variantes de projet; which would be rendered in French by: La
in these situations, Romanian takes the flambe des cours du ptrole continue de
variants from French). An important stage pousser l'indice des prix la
is that of the research, which supposes consommation la hausse).
searching for terms and the choice of As regards the tendency towards a
equivalences by consulting specialists to euphemistic style, one can notice its
explain terms or contexts, but especially frequent use. For example, in French,
with the help of a wide range of economic instead of chmeur, the expression
dictionaries and encyclopaedias in/ from chercheur d'emploi is also used; the terms
English, French, Romanian, as well as by Third World countries and under-
using data bases on web sites. For developed countries, with their French
example: equivalents pays du Tiers Monde and pays
www.dictionar-economic.com, sous-dvelopps, have been replaced by
www.wordreference.com/enro/economic, the expressions less developed countries or
http://liensutiles.org/econom.htm, developing countries, i.e. les pays moins
www.banknews.ro/dictionar_financiar- dvelopps or pays en (voie de)
bancar, www.rdt-contabilitate.ro/dictionar- dveloppement. Nevertheless, PMA (pays
economic-on-line.html, les moins avancs), with the English
www.webdex.ro/online/dictionar/economic equivalent least developed countries, is
256 Bulletin of the Transilvania University of Braov Series V Vol. 7 (56) No. 2 - 2014

nowadays quoted, despite the depreciative Europe can be rendered as le Vieux

denotation in both languages [6]. Continent, La Maison Blanche refers to the
Understanding the text in order to administration from Washington, while the
simplify it is sometimes imperative in Old Lady of Threadneedle Street makes
order to have a fluid translation. For reference to the Bank of England (these
example, the translation of the following metonymies are used as such in Romanian
sentence in French Markets appear as well). It goes without saying that a
confident that a sufficient level of future certain metonymy can be used taking into
central bank interest rate rises has been account its popularity among the target
reflected in current prices to ensure readers of the text and that it has to belong
continued growth without inflationary to the same context as the denomination it
pressures can be done in two ways, the replaces.
former being less pertinent, the latter Once translators have identified the
demonstrating the translators better ability terms or phrases with established
and command of the language: Les equivalences in the text, they can vent their
marchs ont, semble-t-il, dj creativity to render more or less complex
suffisamment tenu compte des futurs formulations.
relvements de taux d'intrt par les Apart from the process of semantic
banques centrales dans les prix actuels derivation which we have addressed at the
pour que la prennit de la croissance soit beginning, another problem to be
assure sans risque de tensions overcome by translators of specialized
inflationnistes; Les marchs ont, semble- texts in the field of economics is
t-il, dj suffisamment anticip les futurs represented by the equivalence of terms,
relvements de taux d'intrt par les which they have to master, given that the
banques centrales pour que la prennit de fixed expressions in the source language
la croissance soit assure.... have to be found, under one form or
In the translation of economic another, also in the target language. To
documents, the main source of difficulty support this action, Michel Ballard
comes not necessarily from the technical proposed an equivalence scheme, divided
character of the terms or phrases, but from into two categories, direct and indirect
their contextual acceptance, i.e. from what equivalence, where there can be either a
Pierre Lerat calls la recherche de simple substitution of terms, or a morpho-
ladquation communicative [4]. A tool syntactical change or adaptation [1]. Out of
which is often used in the arsenal of the the examples of idioms in English and
translators of economic texts is metonymy, French that Jacqueline Percebois presents,
which allows them, as an alternative we selected the following:
option, to wisely use a figure of speech to tax basis - lassiette fiscale,
refer to a country, currency etc., if the break-even point - le seuil de rentabilit,
context allows them to, instead of using infant industries - les industries
their usual names, with a view to colouring naissantes,
the text or avoiding repetitions. Naming government procurement - les marchs
the American dollar le billet vert (Fr.), publics
verziori (Rom.) or the Euro la monnaie workable competition - la concurrence
unique (Fr.), moneda unic (Rom.) effective etc. [5]
emphasises a characteristic which In France, national institutions insist on
everybody knows, being, at the same time, the precision of editing official documents,
an elegant manner to avoid repetitions. and, as a consequence, the brochure crire
I.-P. ARMSAR: Aspects of Specialized Translations in the Field of Economics 257

pour tre compris, aimed at the clerks of translation of decision maker presents no
the Ministry of Economy and Finances, difficulty, this does not happen with policy
advises users to avoid the so called passe- maker, which can mean responsable, but
partout verbs, such as tre and faire, and also stratgique, thoricien, technocrate,
recommends, instead of the expres- and dirigeant (from this enumeration of
sions tre sur une liste, faire usage d'un terms translated into French, most of them
droit, faire un certificat, faire une liste, have the same meanings in Romanian, as
the use of: figurer sur une liste, exercer un they are of French origin). It is the
droit, dlivrer un certificat, dresser une translators art to find the term with the
liste [7]. It is self-understood that perfectly appropriate meaning in the target
competent translators will notice these language.
differences and, in addition, their readings Another frequent problem of economic
will guide them from the use of the specialized translations comes from long
meanings the words have in everyday sentences, typical for research articles in
language, towards a pertinent the field of economics, when closeness to
interpretation from a contextual point of the original is imperative. A way to solve
view (for example, price from the common this may be represented by their
language will be translated prix if it is segmentation and use of discourse
about the market, or cours, if it is about the connectors (such as, in French, en outre,
fluctuations of the stock exchanges, i.e. par consquent, ensuite, ainsi, mais).
les cours du ptrole not les prix du J. Delisle highlights them, analysing them
ptrole. as words or groups of words which
Certain difficulties are caused by the connect the parts of a discourse in a way
existence of the terms which are very that emphasises their logical rapports [2].
precise in English, but which need to be In this situation of sentence fragmentation,
enriched in French in order to preserve it is important to preserve the initial
their meaning. This enrichment consists in meaning, as there is a danger of
using more words in French than were simplification or, even worse, of changing
used in English to express the same idea. meaning.
Thus, the term policy can have different
translations within different economic 3. Conclusion
contexts. After the meaning has been
identified and inserted into a sentence, Instead of a conclusion, we have to
policy decision will be translated into underline the translators challenge,
French both by dcision de politique skilfulness and effort to preserve the
conomique / environnementale / meaning of the original text, considering
financire etc., and by dcision the specific linguistic and cultural features
stratgique (enterprises, management) or of the equivalent words in the target
by dcision de principe (public language. The major criteria for their
administration), whereas policy instrument choices will be: the lack of ambiguities (in
will be rendered either by instrument order for the target audience to be able to
dintervention, or by instrument easily identify the reference concept), the
stratgique. closeness towards the original, as
In actual fact, the concision of nominal information conveyed, the need to preserve
and adjectival associations in English the coherence in synchrony of the elements
increases the difficulty of their conversion that represent the final text, and the
into Romanian and French. If the compliance with the diachronic evolution
258 Bulletin of the Transilvania University of Braov Series V Vol. 7 (56) No. 2 - 2014

of the lexis as regards the choice of terms. References

The translators qualities of being highly
knowledgeable of both the source and the 1. Ballard, M.: Versus : la version
target language at everyday language level, rflchie, reprages et paramtres.
but especially at scientific level (in terms Paris. Ophrys, 2003.
of economic language in the case under 2. Delisle, J.: La traduction raisonne.
consideration), are requirements for a good Ottawa. Presses de lUniversit
translation for the target audience. It is dOttawa, 1993.
necessary for translators to stay tuned to 3. Guu, A.: Thorie et pratique de la
everyday life, in a permanent connection traduction. Chiinu, ULIM, 2007.
with the realities in the field, which are in 4. Lerat, P.: Les langues spcialises.
an endless movement. Some of the issues Paris. Presses Universitaires de France,
which have been analysed above have 1995.
emphasized the work which translators 5. Percebois, J.: Langlais de la
perform while processing the text and microconomie. Paris. Economica,
which is close to both technicity and art. In 1982.
fact, these trends are also possible 6. Percebois, J.: Terminologie Anglais-
solutions for the problems specialized Franais du Commerce International,
translations raise: the euphemistic style, Thories, Politiques, Accords et
metonymy, term equivalences, enrichment Institutions. Paris. Economica, 2002.
of meanings etc. 7. crire pour tre compris, brochure du
Ministre de l'conomie et des
Finances de France, 3e dition, 1995,