Technical Terminology

Technical Terminology is a vocabulary or term that has a specialized meaning restricted to a specific field which is not necessarily the same as the meaning in common use.

Some English terms that are commonly used to express various concepts in environs of Computer Science and Engineering have their roots in traditional English. Hence, we should be very careful in using them so that they are not confused with their traditional meaning.

Some of the examples of scientific and engineering words which have roots in traditional English are:

  • Heap → A temporary data storage area where random access is possible.
  • Packet → A group of data bite that can be transmitted together as a group.
  • Thread → A program in a computer consisting of many independent smaller sections or heads.

Technical terminology is formally oriented. Precise technical terms and their definitions are formally recognized, documented, and taught by educators in the field.

In similarity, Jargon Opens in new window is more informal in definition and use, while legal terms of art or words of art have meanings that are strictly defined by law.

Other terms are more colloquial, coined and used by practitioners in designated field, and are similar to slang. An industry term is a type of technical terminology that has a particular meaning within a specific industry.

The boundary separating formal terminology from slang jargon, as in general English, is quite fluid, with terms moving in and out of recognition.

This is evidently true, as one might observe the rapidly developing world of computers and networking particularly facing this difficulty.

For instance, the term firewall (in the sense of a device used to filter network traffic) was at first a technical slang. As it became important and the term became widely understood, the word was adopted as formal terminology.

Technical terminology has evolved to the mainstay due to the need for experts in specific fields to communicate with precision and brevity, but often has the effect of excluding those who are unfamiliar with the particular specialized language of the group.

This can cause difficulties, as in the case of a patient who is unable to understand his own medical condition because of technical terminology used by doctors.

Differences in jargon Opens in new window also cause difficulties where professionals in related fields use different terms for the same phenomena.

For instance, Corporate Social Responsibility and Corporate Responsibility would ultimately denote the same thing and lead to overlapping of research.