The rise of COVID-19 terms in English and Romanian. Translation challenges


  • Daria Protopopescu University of Bucharest



COVID-19 Romanian words, COVID-19 English terms, Google Translate, machine translation, translation errors


Following the COVID-19 pandemic, linguists and terminologists in particular are confronted with a lot of challenges in translating new terminology. This has to do with a mass communication that is largely centred around English. The sometimes-sudden creation of new terms as a response to the new realities is one of the reasons behind these challenges. So, it is only fitting to research these attempts to offer equivalents for these newly-coined English terms posing problems to Romanian translators. This article aims to investigate in more detail the terminology related to the coronavirus pandemic, as a means to contributing to the rise of valid Romanian versions of English terminology specific for the coronavirus pandemic, keeping in mind that terms are “dynamically equivalent”. Our reasoning behind the investigation of the coronavirus-related vocabulary and its translation from English into Romanian (mainly via Google Translate) is to look into the issue of poverty of linguistic resources employed to adequately translate these terms. An analysis of the coronavirus pandemic-related terminology shows that Romanian equivalents for the newly-coined English terms is either missing of awkward sounding. We are going to investigate the several reasons for this. Our belief is that the main reason has to do with the fact that most of the available information about COVID-19, irrespective of its medium (blogs, social media content, articles), is in English. If we are to compare this to what happens in case of machine translation use, then the outcome is in certain cases quite infelicitous.