Cracking the Code: What’s that Word in your Language?

By Cecilia Golumbeanu

[Editor’s Note: This column provides our readers with words and phrases to ponder. Send us an email and let us know how you would say it in your language!]

Reader responses from last month’s Terminology Corner for the term, “blowback”:

  • I’ll admit. I’m stumped! –Emily Alfonso Ortiz
  • This generated quite the conversation in our office a week or two ago. Today, James Hontoria tells me that “blow-back” originated from the oil industry. During the drilling process, you may encounter a pocket of gas that flows up and catches fire: “blow-back.” He contends that a Spanish translation could be “retroexplosión” or something similar. My colleague Maria Teresa votes for “resoplido.” I think something less literal, such as “consecuencias negativas” might be a good translation (though I’m not one hundred percent thrilled with that). The conversation continues… :)—Athena Matilsky

This month’s Cracking the Code: Computer Crime and Cyber Crime

Most reports, guides or publications on cybercrime begin by defining the terms “computer crime” and “cybercrime.” In this context, various approaches have been adopted in recent decades to develop a precise definition for both terms. Before providing an overview of the debate and evaluating the approaches, it is useful to determine the relationship between “cybercrime” and “computer-related crimes.” Without going into detail at this stage, the term “cybercrime” is narrower than computer-related crimes as it has to involve a computer network. Computer-related crimes cover even those offenses that bear no relation to a network, but only affect stand-alone computer systems. (International Telecommunication Union, 2012, Understanding cybercrime, 11. Retrieved from

The O.E.D.’s entries date from 1972 and 1991, respectively:

computer crime n. crime involving illegal access to or manipulation of electronic data; an instance of this.

cybercrime n. crime or a crime committed using computers or the Internet.

How would you say these phrases in your language? Let us know and you might see your response in the next issue of Proteus!

[Cecilia Golumbeanu is a Romanian-language court interpreter and a French-language translator in New York. As a Fulbright Scholar at the University of Michigan in Ann Arbor, she wrote a legal and economic bilingual dictionary of American and European terms, published in 2005 in Romania. She has a bilingual blog of thoughts and links on language, arts and science at]

The views and opinions expressed are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the official position of NAJIT.

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