Tech's all foreign to us

Tech's all foreign to us

I’ve always known the French like to be a bit different. In the defence of the langue Française, they insist on the use of French words. Fair enough. I’m familiar with their use of courrier (or courrier electronique, to give it its full name), for example, as opposed to email.

A few years ago, the French civil service tried to stop the use of ‘cyber-Anglicisms’ – essentially the use of technology words in English. So, among other things, a “start up” was officially replaced by a jeune pousse (a young plant … no, I don’t get that one either).

Of course, ‘cyber-Anglicisms’ are fairly well engrained around the world. And for those of us who live life safely cocooned within our English-speaking bubble, it seems inconceivable that any one would want to say things other than internet, computer, email, web … or so I thought.

I’ve been trying to learn a little bit of Spanish. So far, so good. I can say my name, count to 10, ask for a beer – all the important things. I figured IT-speak would be a cinch. Computer, right? Wrong. Ordenador. The internet is even worse, “la red”.

I could just about work out ciberespacio (cyberspace), directorio (directory), cliquer (click) and sitio web (website). Software is, well, software. Virtual is virtual. So maybe things weren’t so bad after all.

Here’s a couple for you to grapple with. Any ideas?

Programa; megabitas; pirata.

Hopefully, you managed program, megabytes and hacker (sic pirate). Similarly, sistema operative (operating system) and even ratón (mouse) shouldn’t be beyond our powers of comprehension. I must admit when I first saw ‘mensajería instantánea’ I kinda freaked. But then I took a bit of time … just say it … any ideas … say it s-l-o-w-l-y … ah, instant message. Likewise ‘navegador’, which does sort of sound like navigator … think, think … browser! Si!

But it’s not all quite so easy. Take ‘buscador’ (search engine) or descargar (download).

Once you know one word, others do come a little easier. In a similar vein to French, correo electrónico is email. That makes it far easier to understand buzón de correo … mailbox , and correo basura … junk mail.

Any ideas for ordenador portátil?

If you said laptop, give yourself “una palmadita en la parte posterior”, which if my Spanish is getting any better at all should mean “a pat on the back” (at least I hope it does).

I guess what I’ve learned is that while English extends its reach throughout tech-speak – and that’s hardly surprising given the dominance of the US – we (as in English speakers) win some and we lose some. And when it comes down to it, if we made it a bit more of a two-way street, we could actually pick up a few gems along the way.

Working my way through the dictionary, I came across “cibernauta”. Again it’s one of those that if you say it, you’ll probably get its meaning … and I love it. I think we should all start calling ourselves cybernauts as opposed to surfers.

Qué usted piensa?

Follow Us

Join the newsletter!


Sign up to gain exclusive access to email subscriptions, event invitations, competitions, giveaways, and much more.

Membership is free, and your security and privacy remain protected. View our privacy policy before signing up.

Error: Please check your email address.



The making of an MSSP: a blueprint for growth in NZ

The making of an MSSP: a blueprint for growth in NZ

Partners are actively building out security practices and services to match, yet remain challenged by a lack of guidance in the market. This exclusive Reseller News Roundtable - in association with Sophos - assessed the making of an MSSP, outlining the blueprint for growth and how partners can differentiate in New Zealand.

The making of an MSSP: a blueprint for growth in NZ
Reseller News Platinum Club celebrates leading partners in 2018

Reseller News Platinum Club celebrates leading partners in 2018

The leading players of the New Zealand channel came together to celebrate a year of achievement at the inaugural Reseller News Platinum Club lunch in Auckland. Following the Reseller News Innovation Awards, Platinum Club provides a platform to showcase the top performing partners and start-ups of the past 12 months, with more than ​​50 organisations in the spotlight.​​​

Reseller News Platinum Club celebrates leading partners in 2018
Meet the top performing HP partners in NZ

Meet the top performing HP partners in NZ

HP has honoured its leading partners in New Zealand during 2018, following 12 months of growth through the local channel. Unveiled during the fourth running of the ceremony in Auckland, the awards recognise and celebrate excellence, growth, consistency and engagement of standout Kiwi partners.

Meet the top performing HP partners in NZ
Show Comments