The Jargon File is a glossary and usage dictionary of slang used by computer programmers. Eric S. Raymond ; third edition published The File expanded by fits and starts until
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Jargon is simultaneously one of the greatest linguistic inventions of all time, and one of the worst. Jargon is fundamentally a specific sub-set of vocabulary used by a group. On the one hand, it speeds up communication for the people in the know: Instead of having to come up with elaborate phrases that describe what translation memory is, my fellow professionals and I can simply use the phrase. Jargon has to be used sparingly, and with careful intent.
Jargon can be a weapon to shield you from outsiders, which means it can also unintentionally make your text impenetrable. You have to consider the purpose of your writing. Jargon can be a lot of fun, however. For example, the term bandwidth started life as a technical term. Then became jargon for the capability of a network — and later the human brain — to process information. This term has crossed over into general use, and now decidedly non-technical people will use it freely in meetings to describe capacity.
The lesson here is that while jargon can be used defensively to exclude people, overuse of jargon can cause it to be adopted by the wider world, at which point it stops being jargon and simply becomes slang — and later, possibly, an official part of the vocabulary. For the translation pro, jargon is a headache, just as it is for the customer. Usage of Jargon: When to Avoid It.
Dangers of Jargon Jargon has to be used sparingly, and with careful intent. The Joys of Jargon Jargon can be a lot of fun, however. Image courtesy: contrariansmind.