What to watch when translating historical terms : a case study



Year of publication 2022
Type Appeared in Conference without Proceedings
MU Faculty or unit

Faculty of Arts

Description The paper deals with terminology creation and fixation, suggesting that Czech terms and names used in the humanities can, in isolated instances, be liable to changes resulting from subtle factors, such as ideology and a switch of the primary language of discourse in the field. The central part of the paper is a case study of the Czech term used for a well-known historical event – the Boston Tea Party. The way this event was named in Czech is followed in detail, showing a sudden and seemingly unmotivated change in the naming. The reason for the change is discussed, showing that subtle ideological shifts were at play, together with the influence of a third language. The paper further focuses on the meta-discourse concerning the two terms in question. It presents an outline and results of two Internet discussions dealing with the change, both led by informed and motivated groups of non-historians. An explanation is then attempted as to how such a change – clearly a development from a good to a significantly worse version of a term – could remain unnoticed by professionals in the field if it was so vividly discussed by other language users.
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