How to translate ‘cloud computing’ in Spanish?

The concept of cloud computing has been around for a while now. In Spanish, the cloud is simply “la nube”. With that noun in mind, phrases like cloud computing and cloud storage have been translated as computación en la nube/informática en la nube and almacenamiento en la nube, respectively. I find this construction quite laughable, actually, since it reminds me of the phrase en la nube as in Él andaba por las nubes durante la ceremonia (He was daydreaming during the ceremony).

Here’s my problem with it. Spanish already has nimbo, from the Latin nimbus, which means nube. Its morphology would allow it to be used as a prefix. My solution? Nimbocomputación or nimboinformática.

I think many translators are afraid to coin neologisms and, instead, refer to Google for word choices. This is equivalent to a software programmer asking a Best Buy employee for advice on how to build a mobile app.

Of course, the future of any neologism lies in widespread acceptance and usage. I recognize that usage has an inherent strong democratic power, regardless of reason, logic or level of education. Right now, the Wild West that is the Internet is informing specialized content with consequences both good and bad.

Although this is a quixotic effort on my part, I’ll keep using nimbocomputación…at least, in private.

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3 Comments

Filed under Etymology, Lexicography, Syntax, Terminology, Vocabulary, Word formation

3 responses to “How to translate ‘cloud computing’ in Spanish?

  1. You may be interested in my blog, which deals with the many connections between words in Spanish and English.

  2. The gross calque of the English “cloud” is here to stay, reinforced by its validation in the Microsoft glossary. Technology-originated neologisms are very difficult to replace through thoughtful craftmanship, as shown in this 20-year comparison — Neologismos anglosajones con equivalentes propuestos por la Comisión de Traducciones en 1994 – Actualización al 2014 (Glosas, V8N5, ANLE.US)

    • Tal cual lo digo en el cierre de mi artículo, es un intento quijotesco de mi parte. En esa época (2010 a 2011) yo estaba trabajando para una firma informática especializada en bases de datos con fines de archivo a nivel institucional y bancario. Una de las actividades que les interesaba era el “SaaS (software as a service)”, que estriba principalmente en los servicios de computación internetizada (otra vez el “cloud computing”). No estoy tan opuesto a usar “la nube internética” ni nada por el estilo, pero no solo veo el calco sino una repetición de loro en los cotextos que rodean su uso (por parte de profesionales bilingües y de traductores también). Parafraseando al Dr. Navarro, no me gustan los usos acríticos de tal o cual palabra. Topic for another time: the obsession with the so-called translation productivity steals time away from thinking what one is writing.

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