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Translating Technical and Business Registers
Concept of Registers of language:
Read the following sentences, and discuss the different uses of language: Our use of language is not an isolated phenomenon. In other words, we use language in a particular situation for a particular purpose and addressed to a particular audience. Thus, as speakers and writers of language, we use a variety of language each appropriate to a specific situation, a specific purpose and a specific audience. Remember Mr. Anil Mathur, our senior at school? He's is going to be our new CEO. I guess he will be here next month.
Mr. Anil Mathur, a former student of Alexandria High School, will join the company as CEO in July. Register is the technical term for a specific type of language use. In other words, it is a subset of a language used for a particular purpose or in a particular social setting. For example, a speaker may adhere more closely to prescribed grammar, pronounce words ending in -ing with a nasal and refrain from using the word ain't when speaking in a formal setting, but the same person could violate all of these prescriptions in an informal setting. Register is discourse categorisation, language variation, defined by use not the user.
The term was first used by the linguist Thomas Bertram Reid in 1956 and brought into general currency in the 1960s by a group of linguists who wanted to distinguish between variations in language according to the user (defined by variables such as social background, geography, sex and age), and variations according to use, in the sense that each speaker has a range of varieties and chooses from among them at different times. The focus is on the way language is used in particular situations, such as legalese or mother tongue, the language of a biology research lab, of a news report or of love etc.
Hence, it is clear that the translation of language of registers has to be informed with the distinctive features of the Source Language (SL) as well as the Target Language (TL) that are appropriate to a particular language use. The distinctiveness in the language of registers such as the registers of law, medicine, science and technology, literature, journalism etc. derives from the basic distinction between informal and formal language, and, therefore, translation of registers of language should be cognizant of the informal and formal characterstics of both languages.
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