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Re: Technical Terms for Nontechnical Cultures

From:H. S. Teoh <hsteoh@...>
Date:Thursday, March 27, 2003, 21:31
On Wed, Mar 26, 2003 at 04:39:01PM -0800, Arthaey Angosii wrote:
> After my finals-week-induced absense, I certainly am being chatty! :)
Indeed you are. During those few weeks of complete silence, I thought you must've vanished into thin air... or perhaps lost behind a teleportal to Cresaea. :-P
> For those of us with nontechnical cultures -- no computers, no electricity, > no motorized stuff, etc -- we probably haven't focused very much on > technical terms in the language. I was thinking about translating stuff > that required such terminology, for the translation pratice, and wondered > if anyone else had tackled this issue.
I encountered a similar problem, although not in the area of technology. Ferochromon, the Ebisedian conworld, is different enough from our universe that it lacks things we take for granted, such as stars[1] or rain. As far as technical terms themselves are concerned, these would also cause the same problem with Ebisedian; although later in Ebisedi history there is a technological age, Ebisedian as spoken currently is early in the history of the Ebisedi, which is not quite technologically advanced yet. [1] The subject of long debates after a translation relay where stars mutated into fountains because the Ebisedian word I used denotes a phenomenon which can be understood both ways -- don't remember if you were here then.
> I could just plow ahead, make up terms, and slap them into sentences. > Or I could give nontech round-about terms that would be the Cresaeans' > understanding of the tech thing in question.
This is the approach I've taken so far.
> Or I could imagine the far future of Cresaea, when they _do_ develop > technology (although it probably won't be tech-as-we-know-it) and then > adapt _those_ native terms to the Terran-equivalent ideas.
[snip] I'm a bit cautious about this. As I said, later in the history of the Ebisedi, there *is* a technological age; but by then, Ferochromon has completely[2] split into three sub-universes and the original language has mutated into three mutually unintelligible daughter langs. Needless to say, each daughter lang bears almost no resemblance to the original Ebisedian any more. So importing technological terms back to the original would be a bit strange. [2] Even at the "present"[3] time, Ferochromon already consists of three sub-universes, but communication and travel is still easy and frequent. As time passes, the structure of the universe changed[4], and during the technological age, the three sub-universes were almost completely independent of each other. [3] As in, the time the current Ebisedian is spoken. [4] That is to say, progressed. Don't ask, this is a 500-page treatise on Ferochromon con-physics. :-) T -- ASCII stupid question, get a stupid ANSI.