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Drone

Pilotless aeroplanes, or rather, remotely controlled aeroplanes with a variable degree of autonomous navigating capabilities, are rapidly gaining importance in “modern” warfare. They can be used both for fighting (killing) and for reconnaissance (spying) and even have civilian uses (crop dusting, overfishing, gathering scientific data…). They used to be called Unmanned Aerial Vehicles (UAVs) and also Remotely Controlled Vehicles (RCVs) before that but recently their name has been switched to drone. A drone is originally a male bee. In the 16th century it was given the figurative sense of 'idler' or 'lazy worker', as male bees make no honey. This meaning is retained in the Spanish equivalent zángano, but not in the German translation Drohn or Drohne. This may be the reason German has adopted the term Drohne for the UAVs while Spanish has kept the English “drone” as it is, with varying pronunciations. The problem I have with this denomination is that drones have no sting. It doesn’t seem right to me to give UAVs a name that implies they are idle and harmless, which neither of is right. It is a euphemism. US politicians may of course try to make drones appear more harmless than they are but, by taking the same word for Spanish, this aspect gets lost. I think Spanish needs a proper translation for the word drone, as the UAVs are not going to disappear any time soon and zángano is already coined and employed for other uses. When one talks about something, it is always better to know what one is saying, isn’t it? Otherwise the propaganda machine has already won. Actually, I even think it would be better if drones were called differently in English and in German as well. Then it might be easier to translate the term correctly into Spanish.

Kommentare

 
Am 15.03.2014 um 09:59 von Jordi
El DRAE acepta el dron: http://cultura.elpais.com/cultura/2014/03/14/actualidad/1394821334_527559.html#sumario_1 No es exactamente lo que pido, pero menos da una piedra. Gracias pues a los señores (y señoras) de la Academia
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