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Would you translate technical terms in non-English interview?

madza profile image Madza ・1 min read

This post is targeted mostly on people living outside English speaking countries, but everyone could give their input.

Lets say you live in Germany and go to technical on-site interview.
The interview process will most likely lead to 3-way dilemma:

  • The interview will most likely be held in your country's official language (which is German in your case)
  • All the documentation and other sources you have every browsed to get knowledge were mainly written in English (with exceptions in very active communities)
  • The technical terms might not always translate between languages

Obviously, you would not translate names like React, Node, CSS, etc.
But what about technical terms like 'design patterns', 'library', 'framework', 'hosting', 'package managers', 'rendering', 'back-end', 'module bundlers', etc?

Would you try to translate them to something equal in German or would you stick with English, when mentioning them?

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madza profile



All things productivity. 🎯🚀💯


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Agree, programming in general is a niche whose concepts are not cross-language friendly. You could smoother the use of English words by saying "which are called in English X " and then proceed with short description in native language if needed..

As a side note, from personal experience it's the most challenging on people with no knowledge in tech, cause:

  • English term would mean absolutely nothing
  • Native term (if there is one) would still not be clear
  • Description would be clear with like presentation and 5 examples

Interesting to hear from interviewer's point of view.

I see, you have to keep the the language more or less 'formal', cause you don't know the candidate that close (yet) and you want to leave good impression.

In day to day basis tho, the productivity and deadlines become the main keys, so the more concise terms are used - the better. Plus everyone knows each other, loosening up the use of informal language.

Going further, most of the companies have developed a huge vocabulary of their own informal terms, giving meaning to some concepts only their own people will understand.