Multiple terms for same concept

In English computing terminology, it is not unusual to have several terms for the same concept, arising from different commerical or academic backgrounds.

An example familiar to everyone is "ATM" vs "cash dispenser" vs "cash machine".  What we don't need in Irish is a literal translation of each of these terms.  What we do need is one term for the idea, and I suggest the simplest, "inneall airgid".

Similar examples abound in computing.

For a formal subdivision of a program:

For a unitary order to the computer:

For a situation where more than one set of instructions may be processed at once:

For an operating system interface which accepts and analyses typed instructions:

It seems obvious enough that a consciously-designed terminology, in any language, should have only a single name for a concept. Anything else is just making the subject unnecessarily difficult to learn.

But in cases like this, we invariably find each English term provided with a root-translation into Irish; for example:

To expand on the first group: in learning programming through Irish, one Irish term for the concept of subprogram is necessary in order to talk about it; and all four English terms must be learned in order to be used as keywords in writing programs. But what use four (or three) Irish terms are for any purpose, pedagogical or practical, is unclear.


Ciarán Ó Duibhín
2006/06/14
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