The web exists in parallel with our real lives and has developed its own language and code of conduct (or ‘netiquette’) over the years.

Using the web every day does not necessarily mean that you’re familiar with all web language. In fact, it’s entirely possible for ‘normal’ Internet users to know what a desktop and an account are without having a clue what WYSIWYG means.

The vast majority of terms used in the IT world are in English, which has imposed itself as the lingua franca of western computing, but even fairly confident English speakers will have some difficulty navigating certain technical terms.

linguaggio del web

From CMS to WYSIWYG: a few of the typical words we use online

People who work in digital marketing will definitely know what a lead is. It’s a term that refers to users who have shown a concrete interest in a product or service. Leads turns into prospects when they have shown an interest in making a purchase but have not yet pulled the trigger. To encourage prospects to complete their purchase, we tend to engage in ‘remarketing’, or rather, to suggest offers and send nudges on social media or via email in relation to the product they’re interested in.

These days, most of us know what social media is, but many people still have doubts about what servers are, and why we encounter problems viewing websites and social media profiles when they ‘fail. A server is an IT device that receives, processes and returns data and information to a client, i.e., to the other components associated with it on the network. If a server or one of its clients isn’t functioning properly, we’re unable to receive information from the network correctly.

People who specialise in web communication and writing online content work with CMSs on a daily basis (Content Management Systems), which allow them to compose, upload and publish articles, photographs, videos, and links online. CMSs also generate previews of what’s going to be published online by means of a view called WYSIWYG (what you see is what you get).

People who write content for the web are fully aware that writing SEO (Search Engine Optimisation) content is essential if you want to rank highly on search engine results pages. Meanwhile, a spider is a bot that surfs the web and evaluates content hosted on all websites in existence, giving them an optimisation ‘score’ and suggesting them to visitors from best to worst.

How do you go about translating web terminology?

When translating technical texts or specialised websites that make use of standard Internet language, we’re often faced with a dilemma that’s not always easy to solve. As mentioned, internet lingo is international, and terms and expressions should often be left in English as they are likely to be the same in the target language.

So does that mean you should just leave keywords in the source language when translating content online? If only it were that simple. Just like all other technical languages, the words we use online can vary enormously from one language to another, especially when it comes to distant languages such as Russian and Korean. All things considered, it’s a pretty demanding task for translation professionals.

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