Digital revolution 3.0: mini English > Italian glossary Digital revolution 3.0, new digital technologies: talking and writing of new things and concepts implies creating and using new words.

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    The new digital technologies, with particular reference to marketing and brands, is among the fields of interest and work I like most. Recently, doing research for the Italian translation of a book on this subject, I came to realize the big terminological mayhem going on at the moment in the industry, where language struggles to keep abreast of new discoveries, where a concept can be defined in more than one way and one term can take on different meanings depending on who’s using it. And if this ambiguity is already present in the source language these expressions originate in, in our case English, the situation in the target languages is often much more convoluted.

    In Italian we use lots of acronyms in this sector – acronyms that mostly make reference to the English expression -, which for use don’t facilitate comprehension, in combination with a mix of English terms and Italian translations. Here below I have grouped some of the main terms and expressions by subject, typology or similar vocabulary, hoping this can be useful to others.*

    As an introduction, I’d like to quote this interesting article, which highlights the difficulty of naming new things, such as the new digital technologies, as well as of agreeing on the meaning of words. Clay Bavor, in charge of virtual and augmented reality development for Google, defines as ‘immersive computing’ the spectrum comprising these technologies: on one side there is the real world, Real Reality, on the opposite one Virtual reality, and in the middle Augmented Reality.

    So, let’s start from ‘reality’.



    AR  >  Augmented Reality    >in Italian>    realtà aumentata  > AR

    MR  >  Mixed Reality    >in Italian >    Mixed Reality > MR

    RR  >  Real Reality    > in Italian >    realtà, mondo reale

    VR  >  Virtual Reality    >in Italian >    realtà virtuale  > RV (but also VR)



    AGI  >  Artificial Generale Intelligence    >in Italian >    intelligenza artificiale generale  >  AGI

    AI  >  Artificial Intelligence    >in Italian >    intelligenza artificale  >  IA (but also AI)

    Ambient AI  >  Ambient Artificial Intelligence    >in Italian >    intelligenza artificiale ambientale



    bot     >in Italian >    bot**

    chatbot     >in Italian >    chatbot

    nanobot    >in Italian >    nanobot



    disruption    >in Italian >    disruption

    digital disruption    >in Italian >    disruption digitale

    technological disruption    >in Italian >    disruption tecnologica

    While for ‘disruption’, in this sector and context, in Italian we use the same English term, the corresponding adjective, ‘disruptive’, offers various translation choices, such as: dirompente – destabilizzante – ribelle – devastante – esplosivo – inarrestabile – travolgente – sconvolgente



    AGI  >  Artificial Generale Intelligence    >in Italian >    intelligenza artificiale generale  >  AGI

    AI  >  Artificial Intelligence    >in Italian>    intelligenza artificale  >  IA (but also AI)

    Ambient AI  >  Ambient Artificial Intelligence    >in Italian >    intelligenza artificiale ambientale

    HI  >  Human Intelligence    >in Italian >    intelligenza umana



    AUI  >  Audio User Interface    >in Italian >    interfaccia vocale utente

    BCI  >  Brain-computer interface    >in Italian >    interfaccia neurale

    NLUI  >  Natural Language User Interface    >in Italian >    NLUI, interfaccia NLUI



    deep learning     >in Italian >    apprendimento profondo

    deep learning AI     >in Italian >    IA ad apprendimento profondo

    ML  >  machine learning    >in Italian >    apprendimento automatico

    reinforcement learning    >in Italian >    apprendimento per rinforzo



    ML  >  machine learning    >in Italian >    apprendimento automatico

    MV  >  Machine Vision   >in Italian >    machine vision, visione artificiale (today more commonly defined as ‘computer vision’)



    neural code    >in Italian >    codice neurale

    neural dust    >in Italian >    polvere neurale

    neural lace    >in Italian >    lacci neurali

    neural net    >in Italian >    rete neurale



    QD  > quantum dot    >in Italian >    punto quantico

    quantum computing    >in Italian >    computer quantistico



    smart glasses    >in Italian >    smart glass, occhiali intelligenti

    smart ring    >in Italian >    smart ring, anello intellingente

    smart watch    >in Italian >    smartwatch



    VPA  >  Virtual Personal Assistant    >in Italian >    assistente personale virtuale  >  VPA

    VR  >  Virtual Reality    >in Italian >    realtà virtuale  >  RV (but also VR)



    blockchain    >in Italian >    blockchain

    hearable    >in Italian >    hearable

    IoT  >  Internet of Things    >in Italian >    Internet delle cose  >  IoT

    NFC  >  Near Field Communication    >in Italian >    comunicazione in prossimità  >  NFC

    Law of Accelerating Returns    >in Italian >    Legge dei ritorni accelerati

    wearable    >in Italian >    wearable, dispositivo indossabile


    * This mini glossary is not intended to be neither comprehensive nor scientifically impeccable, but it simply means to report the current usage of terms and their translation in the industry literature.

    ** As a general rule, the English terms used in Italian don’t take the ‘s’ in the plural: e.g.. il chatbot, i chatbot.


    About the author
    laura-cattaneoLaura Cattaneo is a translation and communication professional working into Italian, member of two industry associations, specialist in enterprise communication, advertising, marketing and digital technologies, luxury, hospitality and legal. She puts her many years of experience to the advantage of her clients by creating texts resonating with the Italian-speaking audience. Connect with her on Twitter @lauracattaneo_ or visit her website and blog.
    Laura Cattaneo

    About Laura Cattaneo

    Italian communication expert. Translation, transcreation, editing, content writing. Marketing, creative, legal.

    6 thoughts on “Digital revolution 3.0: mini English > Italian glossary

    1. Just yesterday I had to translate the word “disruption”. It referred to a more generic disruption of a computer system, with no reference to the digital disruption phenomenon, but it was enough to make me realize how much the appropriate equivalents in Italian can vary, based on a single sentence 🙂 Thank you for this useful overview!

      1. So true Eleonora! It also depends on the target audience of your text, I think. And as you say, sometimes just one word can cause a lot of pain to the translator! 😉 Many thanks for reading and commenting 🙂

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