layout: post title: The use of economic terminology in Portuguese tags: [] —The vocabulary in economics is usually not easy to understand for a lay reader (or listener). The terminology used in economics is really rough, and, as a constantly in change science, is always absorbing new words from other fields or creating neologisms to explain new phenomena about the economy. Through that, we can analyze the reasons why the vocabulary of a social science like economics sometimes can be as difficult as a technical science, like engineering. Some reasons can be pointed, like the willing to obfuscate the language for the major audience, the frequency these words are used along the time (in other languages, in other cultures) and, mainly, the use of them. The last one can be explained for a several reasons: someone who uses terms in English in a non-native English country can be perceived as someone with greater knowledge, the translation of the terms is not easy and cannot carry the hole meaning without being a clause and the necessity, as already quoted, to maintain a certain type of detachment from the major public (the economist is seeing as someone more powerful when the language used is not available for everyone to understand). In this paper I analyze three terms that can be fitted in one of this three groups: words that cannot be translated without losing meaning or which need a clause for express the same idea; words that already have a translation and still are used in English; words that are used in Portuguese and have their equivalent in English. Also I present a brief analysis about the language, even in Portuguese, used by the economists and why this is a obstacle for the major public when they try to understand their own country economic situation.KEYWORDS: economy, translation, vocabulary, equivalents, information.** IntroductionThe terminology for economics usually tends to be complicated and more intrincated than usual. Also, when studying the terminology from the English speakers countries contrasted with the non-English speakers, we can notice some equivalents between then. Besides this equivalents we can also notice some expressions are largely usually in English, like “ dumping”. In Brazil we have a massive influence from USA in culture and in commerce, so it is natural that this influence would be also present in the economics and foreign exchange vocabulary. And, as economics is a worldwide Science which cannot be studied alone or singly and you have to go out of your room to see what is happening and then compare with the data you have about your country and then, finally, try to understand what is happening. To talk with the world, nowadays, you have to speak English — because the already quoted economic and cultural reasons, English has pelleted as a língua franca. Within this scenario it is possible to analyze the terms used to explain the economy around the world and why they tend to be more used in English or Portuguese, depending of the time the term was created and the person who is talking about it — and also, the message this person wants to pass.TerminologyTo make this analysis I choose three terms that can be placed in three groups: terms used in Portuguese with an equivalent in English, like recession −> recessão; terms used in English with an equivalent in Portuguese, like stock −> ação; terms used in English and with no equivalent in Portuguese, like dumping. I also used the Google n-gram viewer (a tool that searches the amount of use about the or more correlated terms in books from 1800 until 2008) to search this terms and measure the frequency of them along the time. The analysis of this frequency of use can be seen in the Figure 1:Figure 1: The Google n-gram Viewer tool showing the results between 1800 and 2000 for the three selected terms.It is possible to note in the Figure 1 that terms have their use related with the economic phenomena around the world. It is possible to see a peak for the term “stock” in the 20’s and 30’s, mainly because the great depression and the crash of Wall Street. Also, it is possible to note a growth in use of terms like “recession” and “dumping” the 90’s, because of the crescent wave of monopoly and cartels in USA on that time.With the frequency of these three terms, I searched for the use and the translation of each of them. Using the Econogloss for a translation/definition in/to Portuguese and the Investopedia, a glossary for terms about investments, for a definition in English. After this, the Table 1 was mounted as showed below:Table 1: Defintion in Portuguese x Defintion in EnglishIt is possible to assume, from the data on Table 1 and the analysis of the Figure 1, that the terms used in Portuguese are the oldest terms. These terms are usually related with economics phenomena from the beggining the the XX century — like the great depression, occured in the 30’s in USA — which is translated to Portuguese and used in Portuguese as Grande Depressão, or even recession, used until now as recessão.Then we have the terms that have a correct and meaningful translation but are used in English, that can be explained by the use of the language (this will be treated in section 3).And, lastly we have the terms that have no translation to Portuguese, like dumping, and because of that are still used in English. This are the more complicated terms, because usually the translation of one term can result in a clause, so it is more productive to use the term in English besides having a full explanation for your audience. These terms are usually new terms, created in a new economic scenario, more complicated and with more intrincated relations between countries, companies and persons. Returning to Table 1, we have the follow defintion for dumping: “In international trade, the export by a country or company of a product at a price that is lower in the foreign market than the price charged in the domestic market”. As we can see, the definition carry a whole meaning that it is impossible to express in Portuguese without having an explanation.The formation of these terms, they tend to be the newest terms, can explain, by the cultural and economic influence os USA, why we still use them in English, while the oldest term, in a time where the USA influence are not so strong, we tend to use the translation of the term, implying in a Picture of our time, where the more complicated the speeh is, the more prestige have.The vocabulary in economics as a way to obfuscate informationThe language, besides a instrument of communication, is a instrument of a power. The use of language can be determined by the one who is using and by the message this one wants to pass. These are the two mains reasons that can be pointed when talking about the use of language in economy, i.e., we cannot separate the person that is using the language from the message that this person wants or have to pass. For example, when a economist have to announce a new economy plan, he wants to pass a message of optimism and hope — usually economy plans are used in trying to contour a bad issue for the country’s economy, like inflation or recession, so it is understandable that a optimistic message will be passed. This is the “best case scenario”, where the intentions of the economist are noble and he was using the language to encourage the population. This can be perceived when he is using a clean and direct speech, with few terminology, in other words, he wants to be understandable to as many people as possible.But that was not the usual scenario, as said before, economy plans are used implemented when the economic situation of the country is, at least, difficult. It is more common that the economist — or the economic crew of a country — wants to hide some information from the people of this country. In this case the terminology is heavy and the speech is the less direct possible. In this scenario we do not have only the terminology trying to obfuscate the real message, we also have the language hiding the real speech on each statement. The economist chose the words in a way that is more difficult for someone who do not have the necessary knowledge to understand what is being said.In this type of speech we can place the second group of words — the ones that have a meaningful translation to Portuguese but still are used in English. This use is also common when the speaker wants to be seeing as someone with more culture than the others. For some people, English are more fancy than Portuguese.Final remarksAnalyzing the data collected and the glossaries researched, the information that can be extracted from both is that, nowadays, we have two types of use about the English terms in economics vocabulary for Portuguese. The first one is the “fair use”, when we have a term that cannot be translated without loss of meaning, like the presented one here — dumping. The other one is the “not so fair use”, when the economists use the English vocabulary to hide something, to obfuscate the information from the population.Also, it is possible to highlight the use of these English terms as a instrument of power, even more in a country like Brazil, with serious problems in education and where the population don not have easy access to information and also do not have the understanding of economy — on other countries like USA, economy is a group of disciplines in high school (Library of Economics and Liberty, 2014) — which can be pointed as another obstacle to the understanding of this vocabulary here in Brazil, then, with this, we can pointed that economists sometimes make use of English terms in a way to reinforce the cultural position of dominance they have when compared with the rest of population.Finally, we have in Brazil a problem of culture, where a person who can speak in English is perceived as someone with more knowledge than another person who cannot speak in English, this kind of perception influences the way that news are compounded and presented to population.ReferencesEconogloss. Instituto Politécnico de Viseu. Disponível em Acesso em 14 de dezembro de 2014.Google Book n-gram Viewer. Disponível em, David R. The Concise Encyclopedia of Economics. Library of Economics and Liberty. Estados Unidos da América. Disponível em Investopedia, LLC. Disponível em of Economics and Liberty. Estados Unidos da América. Disponível em, Artur. Vocabulário em inglês (Economia e Finanças) — Parte 1. São Paulo, Disponível em, Artur. Vocabulário em inglês (Economia e Finanças) — Parte 2. São Paulo, Disponível em The Free Enciclopedia. St. Petersburg (FL): Wikimedia Foundation, Inc. 2001. Disponível em[1] This definition can be founded in Brazilian Wikipedia and not in the Econogloss.** Originally published athttp://mtgr18977.wordpress.comon March 25, 2019.