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Journal of the International Association for Semiotic Studies / Revue de l'Association Internationale de Sémiotique

Editor-in-Chief: Danesi, Marcel

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Volume 2011, Issue 187


IT terminology, translation, and semiotic levels: Cultural, lexicographic, and linguistic problems

Abdullah A. Khuwaileh / Tariq Khwaileh
Published Online: 2011-09-29 | DOI: https://doi.org/10.1515/semi.2011.074


This research tackles computer linguistic terminology used incorrectly or ambiguously by Arab computer users in academic institutions and by English-to-Arabic translators. To serve the purpose of this research, we inserted and/or contextualized a number of computer linguistic terms in texts or contexts. The terms are computer signs and words loaded with technical meanings that are often used in word processing and statistical software packages. Five translators were requested to translate those texts including the chosen semiotic signs and/or codes. Simultaneously, we reviewed computer books taught in two Arab countries (Jordan and the UAE) because these countries have witnessed good educational developments. After filtering out the translators' products from English into Arabic and after investigating the computer terminologies (signs, codes, words, etc., and their semiotic meanings), we found that many computer terms and their levels of meaning are problematic. We classified the types of problematic vocabulary items and then tabulated them under four semiotic levels or categories: ambiguous, inaccurate, unchangeable, and statistical. We also found that problematic words were difficult to translate because of the Arabic culture or the inefficiency of English/Arabic bilingual dictionaries. The research concludes with a number of practical and research-directed recommendations.

Keywords:: IT; culture; translation; linguistics; lexicography

About the article

Published Online: 2011-09-29

Published in Print: 2011-10-01

Citation Information: Semiotica, Volume 2011, Issue 187, Pages 239–249, ISSN (Online) 1613-3692, ISSN (Print) 0037-1998, DOI: https://doi.org/10.1515/semi.2011.074.

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