Language is commonly used for the purposes of communication in everyday life. It is a means to give vent to our emotions – to express ourselves. We speak and listen to, quarrel and make friends, promise and swear, threaten and assure, or think and dream – we do all these and many more things in everyday life by using language. And yet, apart from all these, there are a number of special uses that we put language to. We use it as a means of contract, employ it for business and commerce, conduct legal proceedings in it, do banking, policing, telecommunicating, mass communication as well as governance by using it.
When we put a language for such special purposes, the language has to undergo several changes in lexical coinages, syntax, style and diction. This is because each such special use makes certain demands of a language.
Notice that in each such domain, a language is not used in isolation from other tongues. It is immediately evaluated in terms of its potentiality of adaptability to or suitability for certain given domain vis-à-vis another major language used in the same or neighbouring community which is already being used for this purpose. Therefore, the language which have had a previous history of being used for special purposes provide the critics with a standard against which a newly expanding (domain-wise) language is measured.
It must be remembered that the first stage in developing such newly expanding language is by translating documents and texts from other major national or international languages into the language targeted to be expanded to special purposes. It is only later that new legal, technical and scientific documents emerge in the latter in original. It is in this context that it is important for the students of translation to study how and why in scientific and technical translation can be seen in their proper perspective. This what is done in this elementary unit under the DTS 423 course.
This unit will have the following structure: