The Institute for Hungarian Language Strategy organised a conference on “Technical Language and Economy” on 18 January 2018 in the Library and Information Centre of the Hungarian Academy of Sciences. 

The main objective of the conference was to present the cultural, communication, marketing, brand name, business, rhetoric, educational and translation aspects of the language of economics. Our institute drew attention to the paramount importance of the examination and assessment of technical language when designing the language strategy for the entire Carpathian Basin.

In his opening speech, Attila Tóth, director emphasised that since our everyday life largely depends on the economy, the issue of the technical language of the economy is a question of language strategy. It is undisputed that the economy is part of our culture and thus, from the point of view of successful and efficient communication, it is worth examining the link between the economy and technical languages.

In his keynote lecture, Professor Jenő Kiss, academician stated that the competition having emerged among languages is similar to that in economic life. Only those languages will survive in the future that are able to express all linguistic functions in every register and in every field. It is thus of utmost importance that the Hungarian language strategy also pays attention to technical language communication.

Professor Lívia Mihályka Ablonczy, Head of Department of Széchenyi István University analysed the link between the economy and language and presented the most relevant activities of the research workshops. She highlighted that the language of economics consists of several technical languages of the different specific disciplines, which is an important factor influencing the interpretation.

In his lecture “Hungarian technical languages in the cross border regions”, Professor János Péntek, academician gave a historical overview of the important stages of the evolution of the Hungarian technical languages. He presented in detail that territorial changes during the history of the Hungarian nation resulted in the functional loss of the Hungarian language, a linguistic deficit in technical languages, educational institutions, specialist teachers, textbooks, reference books and dictionaries and the use the official national language becoming permanent in the world of labour in the cross border regions. Although certain improvements can be noted in these areas, the language strategy also needs to focus on the fact that today we can no longer speak about technical bilingualism (Hungarian and national language) but also about multilingualism with the appearance of the English language as a third element. To be able to make a progress in the field of technical language planning, cooperation with researchers, teachers and educational institution in various fields both within and across the borders is required.

Viktória Ferenc, researcher of the Research Institute of National Policy highlighted that although the current institutional practice attaches importance to exercising science in Hungarian at the normative level, it does not encourage the use of the Hungarian language in practice due to aspirations to comply with the international trends. She also stated that Hungarian researchers can improve their science metric scores if they prepare their publications in English in the field of natural sciences and in English, French or German in the field of social sciences and if they participate only to a limited degree in activities promoting science in Hungarian. However, scientific publications in Hungarian lead to significant additional cultural value.

Ágnes Veszelszki, associate professor of the Corvinus University Budapest delivered a presentation on the language of marketing and after the overview of the field she presented a case study. She analysed 464 key words of 10 websites on marketing from the point of view of frequency, use of synonyms, semantics, localisation and orthography. She also proved empirically, as expected, that the impact of the English language on technical language is significant. A further interesting research finding is that the terminology of the field is not consistent, definitions are not corresponding and changes are very rapid.

László Kovács, senior lecturer the Eötvös Loránd University (ELTE) Savaria University Centre spoke about the link between brand name research and linguistics. His presentation was based on his recently published monography “Brand and Brand Name”. Brand name is part of the technical language of the economy, advertisements and marketing; it is a rather productive linguistic category, a value storing, identifying, prestigious and relatively permanent linguistic element. The category comprises of a very large number of elements that should also be examined from the point of view of orthography and translation studies.

In her presentation on corporate communication, Ágnes Vető Borgulya, professor of the University of Pécs concluded that business communication is a multi-layer area as it can be directed at different target groups within or outside the company; it can be performed horizontally within the enterprise (peer-to-peer communication among colleagues) and vertically (upstream and downstream communication in the company hierarchy). Company language depends on numerous factors, such as the legal regulation and segmentation according to the specific branches within the company; client communication is another version of this technical language. Companies have to use several different constantly expanding and evolving technical languages.

Tamás Lózsi, senior lecturer of the ELTE Faculty of Primary and Pre-School Education spoke about the parallelism between the sub-areas of modern business rhetoric and classical rhetoric.
There were four presentations on the translational and educational aspects of economic terminology.

Zsuzsa Kurtán, habil., associate professor of the Pannon University and member of the presidium of the Association of Technical Language Teachers and Researchers delivered a comprehensive presentation on the situation of technical language teaching and research in the 21st century and revealed that technical language teaching takes place in schools independent from traditional primary, secondary and tertiary institutionalised education and in company courses. Among the numerous summary data mentioned in the presentation, it is worth highlighting that the most common arena of technical language training is the bachelor's degree studies of tertiary education and the most common fields of education are related to the economic, business, trade and technological fields, as well as the terminology of tourism, agriculture, law and medicine. Technical language teaching should adapt to the new teaching environments and requirements, for example to international relations, digitalisation, knowledge transfer and collaboration.

Marianna Válóczi, associate professor and Head of Department of the Budapest Business School (BGE) gave a presentation on the innovative methodology deployed by the technical language departments of BGE university. Taking into consideration that the habits, competencies and expectations of the Generation Z. are completely different from those of the earlier generations, the innovative methods of technical language teaching aim at using social media and infocommunications tools and devices and methods based on collaboration requiring continuous activity.

Dóra Tamás, senior lecturer of the Department of Translation and Interpreting of ELTE discussed the translational aspects of economics terminology. She emphasized that the processes of change have been set in motion not only by the spread of English but also by the emergence of Euro-administrative technical texts. The introduction of a terminology-based approach in translation studies and the creation and use of terminology databases play an important role in enhancing the quality of translations and the efficiency of technical language in the mother tongue.

Éva Rádi, lecturer of the Faculty of International and European Studies of the National University of Public Service presented the cognitive linguistic analysis of metaphor sets of her cognitive linguistic research on economic terms.

As the Institute for Hungarian Language Strategy will publish a volume of the studies presented in the conference, the full content of the event will become available.

The presentations used at the conference can be found here.