Technical Terms Unmasked: Making Sense of Industry Jargon

Technical jargon is a term for specialized terminology that only individuals with knowledge in a certain profession can understand. Unlike common, easily understandable words, jargon serves as a form of shorthand to simplify communication within specific groups. It often involves terms and phrases that lack meaning outside of their context. Jargon, which is distinct from slang, which is casual language use, is a collection of terminology and expressions that are only understood by specific demographics of people. In the realm of technology, technical jargon is commonly used among IT team members to communicate effectively with one another.

With their technical knowledge, they are expected to understand the meaning of such language. For instance, cybersecurity experts might employ the term “penetration testing” to describe the activities of their colleagues during a “red team exercise” that is subject to the “traffic light protocol.” This concise language conveys that a designated team of cybersecurity professionals is intentionally attempting to breach a client’s computer network as part of a risk assessment. The goal is to evaluate the client’s vulnerability to attacks, and the results of the test will be shared with a specific audience designated by one of four colors.

It gets complicated…

Technical Jargon risky to use in non-technical situations. It is reasonable for staff members in technologically oriented positions to utilize technical jargon in their day-to-day job. Such vocabulary does occasionally make its way into the general population, which is problematic because it frequently loses its original meaning. Take “Bluetooth” as an illustration. Bluetooth is a trademarked technique that uses ultrahigh-frequency radio waves in the 2.402 GHz to 2.48 GHz range to wirelessly communicate data up to 100 meters. When speaking with one another, IT experts would be able to clearly define this phrase. However, “Bluetooth” is frequently used incorrectly in non-technical situations to refer to any technology that performs similarly, such as Zigbee or near-field communication (NFC).

This incorrect use of jargon does not give the impression that one is wiser. While it may be alluring to utilize hot buzzwords—many marketing efforts have recently benefited from the popularity of “Bluetooth”—using jargon wrongly increases the risk of seeming ignorant and alienating customers and co-workers. We have a full LOA explanation right here!

There are ways around it! Here is what to do and what not to do:

It is clear from the previous explanations of technical and business jargon that knowing your audience is essential to knowing when to use and when to avoid jargon. While using office jargon among colleagues may be fine for IT experts, using buzzwords throughout the whole organization might have detrimental effects owing to the ambiguity and alienating nature of office jargon.

Here are some suggestions for appropriate and efficient language and jargon use:

Don’t use cliches when expressing how a project or activity is coming along. Instead of using expressions like “getting your ducks in a row,” be direct and concise. This is crucial when giving performance reviews; instead of using generalizations like “moved the needle,” be sure to give clear, concise information about the employee’s accomplishments.

Avoid using buzzwords in group settings: Using team-specific lingo in meetings with many attendees, especially from various departments, may cause confusion. Use language that is clear to all participants to ensure that everyone is on the same page.

Edit your own work: If you’re sending co-workers emails or texts, proofread your text before sending it. Any confusing phrases should be changed, and you should make sure the recipient understands the meaning of any specialized language you employ. Similar to this, use appropriate email protocol when speaking with clients.

Emojis can be misinterpreted just like words, so be cautious while using them. Emojis may not be understood by everyone when used in business communications, which might jeopardize your professionalism. Knowing your audience will help you choose which emojis to use when.

What is the difference between Jargon and Slang?

Jargon is a specialist language used in professional contexts, whereas slang is an informal, colloquial language used in casual, everyday discussions. This is the major distinction between jargon and slang. Slang is more frequently used in casual situations among peers, but jargon is more frequently used by certain organizations or professions to communicate successfully within their area. Words like “salty,” “dope,” and “peng,” which are used to communicate feelings, thoughts, or descriptions in a lighthearted and informal way, are examples of slang. Contrarily, jargon includes expressions like “contempt of court” in the legal field, “myocardial infarction” in the medical field, and “accrual” in the accounting field.

These terminologies are unique to their respective areas and could be difficult for anyone outside of those professions to understand. Although jargon and slang may be used in different circumstances and have various formalities, they do have certain similarities in that they are both specialized forms of language. This is crucial to keep in mind. Slang is more casual and utilized in friendly interactions among peers, whereas jargon is generally employed in professional contexts to convey precise and technical information.

In Conclusion

In conclusion, technical jargon is specialized terminology used by professionals to communicate within their field, while slang is informal language used in casual conversations. It is important to know your audience and use appropriate language to avoid confusion and alienation. Both jargon and slang have their specific contexts and formalities, and understanding the differences between them can help improve communication in various settings.