While the use of technical and specialized terminology in documents and presentations that are geared at audiences who are unfamiliar with the terminology causes problems, it is even worse to use pseudo-technical terms when other terms are just as efficient and widely understood.
According to James Hildebrand, a translators with a Houston translation services company, pseudo-technical language is created by a writer or speaker who needlessly substitutes unfamiliar multisyllable words for good, every day, familiar words. Corporate language in general is riven with this sort of nonsense, usually termed ‘management-speak’. One example is the use of the term “above-board” which is used in statements such as, “I don’t think you are being completely above board with me.” Another term that Human Resources professionals use is “Onboarding”, which they sometimes use to refer to the training that new employees receive. You might also be familiar with the use of nouns as action verbs such as the term “offices” as used in the following sentence, “Tom offices from home.” What the person is really saying is that Tom works from his house. This kind of language is difficult for native speakers of English to understand. You can imagine how difficult it is for the people who translate these documents and for nonnative speakers who hear it.
We can all think of someone in our office that is always trying to use this sort of language. Often it seems like the only reason they use these terms is because they think it makes them look like an intellectual and demeans people. In addition, people who try to use big and unfamiliar words seldom stop at single words. As a few Seattle German translation workers have learned, many of the people who use pseudo-technical terms will often go on to combine several words to make hard-to-understand and sometimes even meaningless phrases and sentences. Instead of communicating meaning, all they end up doing is producing noise that disrupts communication.
This is why Claudio Garcia of Miami certified translation company suggests that when people have the choice of using these types of terms or a synonym that is more familiar to broad audiences; they should stick with the synonyms that are most commonly used. Simply put, pseudo-technical language creates communication barriers with people who aren’t up on the latest lingo. It also makes the translation of these terms into other languages difficult.