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How do non-native English speakers cope with language specific concepts (they learnt in English) in their mother tongue?

dkodr profile image Dariusz Kuśnierek ・1 min read

And I don't mean the syntax, keywords or naming conventions (like naming variables in languages other than English). I'm talking about concepts, ideas, names you don't use in your code, but which describe it – words like "loop", "variable" or "key". Those are the easy ones, because they probably can be translated quite directly into other languages, but others aren't so obvious.

Polish is my mother tongue. Right now I'm learning MDX in English and words like "tuple", "set", "dimension", "leaf", "descendant" pop up quite often. I understand the idea behind them, but how do I know what they are called in Polish? Do I go through a basic MDX tutorial in Polish and hope they are all mentioned there?

Basically, one could go through life knowing only their English names, but at times we need to communicate with one another and that communication may not be in English.

Discussion

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belinde profile image
Franco Traversaro

In Italy we have translation for basically every technical term, and often textbooks use the Italian form. Unfortunately italian words are normally longer than the original ones, so when talking we normally use the english forms. The result is, grammatically speaking, terrible, because we tend to apply Italian grammar rules to foreign words, even if the grammar itself states that foreign words are invariants. Italian people don't cope well with rules 🤔

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Stephanie Handsteiner

Same in German, we call that Denglis(c)h (a portmanteau of Deutsch and Englis(c)h).

There even is a fun GitHub-Repo Deppendrehkreuzlagerstätte with translated terms for Git(Hub).

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Arsam Sarabi

Same in Persian. I think the same goes for every language tbh 😅

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Or Orsatti

Same in Hebrew. I can use translated words when we are discussing about programming, but it sounds Silly. So, we just build a sloppy sentence with Hebrew and English words. Even more annoying when you need to write something, because Hebrew is rtl

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Alessandro Benoit

Hi Franco, to have a laugh, between the worst I heard:

  • Fork a repo : Forkare la repo
  • Add me on Skype : Addami su Skype
  • Create a docker image: Dockerizzare
  • Kill the process: Killare il processo
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JasonJPeters

Currently my niece who’s native tongue is Brazillian Portuguese I am teaching JavaScript. We use the English variants of the language, however for her to understand the concepts I do teach her the word and it’s context in Português. This can be challenging as my Português is very limited.

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Romulo G Rodrigues

In Brazil we mostly use the English words, in college, classes and courses, teachers try to translate and make it more approachable and relatable giving meaningful translations, but learning the translations can make it really harder to search for answers on the web, because of this we use the original terms most of the time and a lot of people use those words as if they were BR Portuguese words, adding gender, conjugating tenses, etc. This happens a lot more around gaming. So "to fork a repo" becomes "forkar um repo", "to build" becomes "buildar", "to code" becomes "codar"... Because of this I find kinda funny how we talk in a mixed language of BR Portuguese and English in Dev circles and conferences.

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Risa Fujii

Japanese engineer here - I was surprised to find that my coworkers use the Japanese translation for most technical terms, in both writing and speech. I learned programming in English and didn’t know the Japanese terminology, so I had to look up the English translation for some words at first (sometimes still do).
That said, I use the English terminology myself when I speak/write in Japanese, and no one has corrected me or expressed confusion. So I think everyone knows the words in both languages, they just prefer to use Japanese.

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Anonymous Function

In Germany we use kind of mixing of English and German terms. Most of the terms used in programming are translated, but specific things like DataContext, Binding... aren't. When communicating it's often that we use most of the terms in English. Sometimes you can of course translate them but it's kind of strange to speak it out.

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Curtis Fenner

(Speaking as a monolingual native-speaker of English, so my advice can only go so far)

All of the terms you mention are important terms you'd come across in an introductory computer science class, so you could look at what textbooks are used at Polish universities and try reading through one. (If your goal is just to learn some terminology, you probably don't need to be picky -- probably any one would do).

Unfortunately, it's fairly possible that, because English is the lingua-franca of sciences (and especially so for C.S.) that they just use the English words, or possibly unhelpfully literal translations of them.

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DevLoris

In France we use a lot of english terms. We have also french words that are just a little change about english ones.

Example :

  • Tuple => Tuplet
  • Number => Nombre
  • Variable => Variable (so amazing) ...

And somes are different

  • Loop => Boucle
  • Key => Clé
  • String => Texte ...

We use english one to discuss between french dev, to be more efficient (easily for languages, a "foreach" is more common in code than "Une boucle pour tous les éléments" (loop for each elements).

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Jorge Castro

About this topic:

I'm lucky, my mother tongue (Castillian) is inside UTF-8 so everything works as expected.

I think the worse case is to write in one of those right-left / unicode languages.

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Jaime Rios

In Spanish we just go with Anglicisms