English Made to Look like a Corporate Language

Last Updated On: June 19, 2017


English - a Corporate Language

One of the important things about a technical translation is the way translators have to find suitable words and phrases that exactly fit the niche they are asked to translate for. It gets to the point that the language used for example in a business context makes it seem that certain words in English are only designed for the business contexts. These words and phrases used today are often referred to as ‘management speak.’ The sorts of words that fit into this context are initiatives, solutions and challenges.


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    There are other words that are commonly confined to the business context and they are ‘forward planning’ and ‘pre-planning’. Translators have to be careful when using these words appropriately or are trying to find exact words in their second language that they are not over-used which would make the text sound clumsy and false.

    There are some challenging Management Speak words and phrases that may prove quite difficult for a translator employed by translation services to find a precise meaning such as thinking outside the box, paradigm shift, drilling down, I’ve got you fixed on my radar, product evangelist, my door is still open on that issue, living the values and we had better not allow the grass to grow much longer on this issue.

    There are other management speak words and phrases that pop up from time to time including stakeholders, let us throw some balls into the air and see what falls down, at the end of the day and strategies.

    There is so much talk about jargon used these days in English that there is even a Plain English website which invites entries every year for what it calls a ‘Golden Bull’ award designed for documents that are jargon-ridden.  There are plenty of appropriate entries for this competition related to management-speak, such as: ‘We are not just re-inventing the wheel but we are out to straighten the axle too’. This sounds understandable in English but if the business using this jargonized expression wants it translated into Mandarin the document translation services asked to find a suitable translator to do the job may be landed with a bill that is a bit more than they bargained for!

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