Risk-assessment for Stylistic Problems in Writing and Translating Technical Texts

Nadia-Nicoleta Morărasu, Luminița Drugă


In adjusting the terminology and methodology of risk-assessment to linguistic studies, we propose the identification of the hazards implied by the excessive usage of technical jargon, before we take a decision on how and to whom it may cause harm. Jargon represents the technical or secret vocabulary used by specialists belonging to a particular field of activity (science, art, literature, technology, etc.) and it may have an unintelligible character for non-specialists. Our choice of instruction manuals for household or electronic devices as potential hazards to users is motivated by personal observations on the faulty style of Romanian versions of instructions originally written in English. Bringing them up not only to technical, but also to stylistic standards, which implies a clear, concise and accessible style, would result in their fulfilling their practical purpose more effectively.
The next step in our research involves evaluating specific risks and proposing some precaution measures. Technical specialists consider that coping with formality scales in technical writing represents a very challenging experience. Based on style manuals and specialist-oriented guidelines for good technical writing, we intend to assess the risks of adopting either an ultraformal and very stiff style or idiomatic and informal forms of expression, deemed as being unprofessional.

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