How to: IT terms in English

    Every IT person knows a lot more English words than he thinks. After all, even without having a brilliant knowledge of English grammar, you use dozens of terms every day that have been translated into Russian and do not always have analogues. On the other hand, neologisms in Russian often come with inaccuracies, with which we will understand in today's collection.


    1. Back up or backup? Plug in or plug-in?

    “Back up”, “make backups”, “back up” - we have many variations of words with this root. We focus on pronunciation, take a word from English as it is and begin to change it according to the laws of the Russian language. But in English, back up and backup are not the same thing.

    Many phrasal verbs in English undergo a conversion process: without changing the form or changing it slightly, they change part of speech. In our case, back up is a verb, and backup is an adjective and noun. Consider examples:

    • Verb: I’ve been backing up and trying it another way.
    • Adjective: Many different techniques have been developed to optimize the backup procedure.
    • Noun: Each differential backup has been saved since the last full backup.

    In the case of plug in, everything is a little more interesting. If we write these words separately, plug in, then we get the verb "plug in". And if you write it with a hyphen, a plug-in, then you get the plug-in that is already familiar to Russian ears - a superstructure, thanks to which the source program becomes better (more functional) from the user's point of view.

    2. Access

    It's all easier: we use our word "access". But speaking in English, Russian experts are often mistaken in the pronunciation of the word. Two letters “c” give the sound [ks], and the word reads like / ˈækses /. If we use the word access as a noun, then the words grant (in this context “give”, “grant”), delegate (“transmit”, “delegate”), restrict (“restrict”) and deny (“refuse "). For example:

    • Share your calendar by using Delegate Access.
    • If you’re not happy, you’ll have to do this.
    • You can restrict access to specific instances.
    • Using this option, you can deny access to a resource based on arbitrary criteria.

    3. Sign

    This verb is productive: many different prepositions can be attached to it, and each such combination will have a different meaning. The simplest verbs are sign in and sign out, synonyms for log in and log out.

    • Use a private browsing window to sign in.
    • After 15 minutes of inactivity. (We keep your account secure).

    There is also a sign up verb - “subscribe to something.” For example:

    By tapping Sign Up & Accept, you must acknowledge it.

    And the verb sign off - "to express agreement" or, simply, "give a go-ahead."

    You have signed it off.

    4. Last or latest?

    In Russian, the word “extreme” has recently gained popularity. By this word, representatives of certain professions, because of their superstitions, replace the word “last” (for example, pilots believe that it is possible not to return to “the last flight”). Moreover, the word “extreme” in the meaning of “last” is not considered the literary norm. But in English, without any superstition, there are two different words: one means “last”, and the second - “most recent”, “most relevant”. So, speaking about “the last release”, you unwittingly give the other party to understand that there will be no more releases. But if you say "the latest release", then it will be a question of a release that came out later than all the previous ones. A couple more examples:

    • I hate being the last one to arrive at a meeting. (i.e. no one else will come)
    • What are the latest technology in mechanical engineering? (that is, what are the new items)

    By the way, the combination of the last person or the last thing is stable and denote the least expected person or object. For example ,

    • I am the last person I'd trust with my equipment. (it means that I am ready to entrust equipment to anyone, but not to him)
    • We need it now (in the sense of “we just didn’t have a power outage”).

    5. Effective or efficient?

    The meeting is coming, and you need to talk about your achievements? Surely you want to include some indicators of effective work. Here is just a word to choose: effective or efficient? Contrary to the misconceptions of many English learners, these are two different words with different meanings.

    Effective means "effective", the one that gives the desired result. Efficient is rather “optimal”, “productive”, that is, the one that most efficiently uses resources to produce results. See the following examples:

    • You need more effective communication within the organization.
    • The new machine is far more efficient than the old one.

    6. Upgrade

    In the Russian language, this word migrated with the accent on “e” - “upgrade”, and the verb “upgrade” appeared from it. However, if you need to communicate in English, keep in mind that the word upgrade with the usual accent on the second syllable is a verb. If you need a noun, the stress will shift to the first syllable: / ˈʌpɡreɪd /

    By the way, after the verb upgrade there can be two prepositions:

    • upgrade to: You'll need to upgrade to 512Mb RAM to run these programs.
    • upgrade from: Existing users can upgrade from.

    7. Install

    We have both the usual analogue of this verb, “to establish,” and the one that appeared with the advent of new technologies - “to install. Only if you happen to use this word in English, remember that there is no sound "a". In English, this word is pronounced as / ɪnˈstɔːl /

    8. Router

    The vast majority of users, and many experts call this device "router". Be careful when speaking about the router in English, because there the word is pronounced / ˈruːtər /.

    9. On / Off

    The philistines, turning the computers on and off, say turn on and turn off. But there are other terms in the IT environment: power up (remember the “Power” button), boot up (“boot”), shut down, switch off.

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