Disclaimer: This question is probably on the brink of off-topicness; maybe, it is also opinion-based and I don't exclude it is way too broad. Nonetheless, I'm asking this out of curiosity: so, if you close this question, I won't complain; but if you answer, I'll appreciate.
To try to stay on track, let me state clearly the rules of the game.
First, I'm interested in the following bilingual settings or situations:
- Courses which are taught in a language which is not the local language (e.g. a course taught in English at a German university).
- Courses which are taught in the local language that adopt textbooks written in a different language.
- Students, researchers and professors who collaborate with people speaking different native languages.
Second, here is the question:
Have you got any example of technical terminology or symbology (from whatever field) which has been, in your experience, cause of confusion, misunderstandings or mistakes in the above given situations?
Let me give you a few examples I've come across:
- In English, the term voltage denotes a common electrical quantity. The Italian term for voltage is tensione. Many Italian students who have been exposed to English classes, however, instead of using the correct term when speaking in Italian, use the mistranslated term voltaggio, which looks similar to the English term, but is incorrect.
- In German and in several East European countries, the symbol used to denote voltages is U instead of the more common V. But this wouldn't cause much trouble were it not for the fact that the symbology employed to indicate the polarity of a voltage is opposite to that employed in US or in many other European countries. It took me a while to realize this, but now, if I have a technical discussion with someone from those countries, it's the first thing I point out to avoid many headaches to everybody.
- A Czech researcher told me that the common low-pass or high-pass filters are actually called high-reject and low-reject filters in the Czech technical literature, and this was a major source of confusion when he started reading the English technical literature.
Note: I'm not interested in common words that can sound awkward or rude or offensive in another language, just technical terminology which can cause confusion.