How e-commerce is changing our language: a note from your translator – Part 1

Endless acronyms are the prerogative of every specialist branch. They quicken communication and have the added bonus that they induct the even simplest concepts into the shrine of the expert. There are times though, when things get out of hand. Take “B2B2B” for example, or better still “B2B-, B2C-, B2B2C, and B2B2B”. When I saw this beauty for the first time, I thought that the author must suffer from some kind of typographical stutter. The terms B2B and B2B may have the nostalgic ring of R2D2, but did anyone ever really have a problem with good old ‘wholesale’ and ‘retail’?

Capital Punishment

What really fascinates me though, is how capitalisation has been kidnapped from its grammatical home and enslaved in the realm of graphic presentation, taking the full stop with it. Traditionally capitalisation has a function; it tells us what the word is doing in the sentence. It tells us where a sentence starts, if that sentence is really a heading, and it differentiates between things and names, titles, or sometimes even concepts. It even tells us if a words stems from a proper name, such as the names of the gods in our days of the week. Now in the world of e-commerce, consumer technology and beyond, it has been relegated to a graphic representation of company and brand names e.g. iPhone, or even our very own dotSource. Because of this, the full stop has also been ousted from its position in the acronym and abbreviation in favour of the capital, e.g. SEA rather than S.E.A. This turns a set of letters in into some kind of hyperactive word, jumping up and down, screaming to be read. Now instead of saying S.E.O, we can happily confuse ‘search engine optimisation’ with a rather tasty cracker.

SAO crackers.jpg
Crackers” by Canley – . Licensed under CC BY-SA 3.0 via Wikimedia Commons.

Find out more about B2B e-commerce with out whiteapaper “E-Commerce Potential in B2B.” We are happy to send you the following to link the pdf version: Whitepaper “E-Commerce Potential in B2B”


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