On IT English Translation Methods (I)

Translation method of words in IT English

The importance of vocabulary can never ve underestimated. With the rapid development of IT technologies, there has been a considerable increase in IT English words.

Characteristics of words in IT English

First, there are many words which are borrowed from daily vocabulary but have transformed meanings. These words are also used by common people and can be found in our everyday life. However, they bear different meanings in IT field.


Mouse      老鼠         鼠标

Driver       驾驶员     驱动程序

Save          节省         保存

Read Also: On Translation of English Brand Names

In this example, all the words are commonly used but refer to certain things in IT English, therefore, they gain new meanings.

Second, there are many technologies. Terminology means the vocabulary of technical terms used in a particular field, subject, science or art. Because of the speciality of IT English, there are many words that are only used in the IT field. The words in the following example are of this kind.

Hardware                  硬件

Software           软件

Floppy disk        软盘

Cursor               光标

Third, there are many derivatives. Derivatives means words formed by derivation. The most common way of derivation is by adding prefixes and suffixes.


Micro + computer = Microcomputer       微机

Process + -or = processor         处理器

Forth, there are many compounds. Compounds are words that consist either of two or more elements that are independent words or of specially modified combining forms of words.


Key + board = keyboard   键盘

Plug + in = Plug-in     插件

Fifth, there are many abbreviated words. Abbreviated words are formed by abbreviation or shortening. There are four kinds of abbreviated words and they are initialism (acronym), clipped words and blending words.


Initialism: CPU – Central processing unit        中央处理器

ASCII – American Standard Code for Information Interchange        美国信息交换标准码

HTML – Hypertext Markup Language      超文本标记语言

Clipped words: information – info 信息

Application – app 应用程序

Blending words: binary + digit = bit 比特

Modulator + demodulator = modem 调制解调器

Typical translation methods of words in IT English

During the process of translation, the correct choice of meaning is of great importance. Besides, in long time of translation practices, many words used in IT English have been given a certain translation counterparts in Chinese, which can be understood and accepted by readers.

And the translation of these words shall not be changed.  For some specialized words (e.g. PC, ROM, RAM, etc.), the meanings of which are so familiar to people that they can be understood even without being translated. Therefore, it is no longer necessary to translate these words and their English versions can be applied directly.

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