Re: Acronyms

From: Patrick Andries (
Date: Tue Jul 11 2000 - 09:07:57 EDT

----- Message d'origine -----
De: "Jonathan Rosenne" <>

> What about ISO - The International Organization for Standardization? It is
common practice sometimes to keep the acronyms although they are from
another language.

Well, ISO apparently is not an acronym but a reference to the Greek element
« isos » (equal) chosen for its language-neutrality. That's at least the
official story. Note that many technical magazines or even dictionaries in
France believe it to be an English acronym...

As far as keeping foreign acronyms this often depends on local or personal
sensitivity, the relative notoriety of the foreign acronym and the value of
a new acronym (e.g. ease of pronunciation, the perceived importance of
understanding its components). AIDS for instance is translated in French and
Spanish (SIDA) but neither in German nor Dutch. One can only guess why:
French tends to translate more frequently acronyms, AIDS (or more precisely
HIV) was discovered by a French team at the Pasteur Institute(*), SIDA is
more easily pronounced, AIDS had not yet been widely accepted by the public
or the media.

In the official French translation of ISO 10646 we have usually translated
all the new acronyms (UCS -> JUC, BMP->PMB, etc.), well known foreign
acronyms (e.g. ASCII, JIS, GB, HTML, XML) were left untouched. Only time
will say which new translated acronyms will stick.

P. Andries
Dorval (Québec)

(*) Or partly in France, but I believe that Gallo admitted to use
Montagnier's strains and results.

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