As in Spanish and in any other language, there are terms specific to each area of human knowledge. One of these areas where technical english becomes so necessary, it is information technology since practically all the technical documentation and the companies that create said documentation are in English-speaking countries. That is why we bring you this guide to English for computers.

English for IT and technical service

Computer science through its development over the past century has added new terms to English while borrowing others to give it its own meaning. For example, the word "bug" that until 1947 was used to refer only to an "insect", was also used to refer to failures in a computer once operators of the Mark III computer realized that a moth was the responsible for the jamming of a relay that caused alterations in the operation.

 what you need to learn

It is important to know technical English for computer scientists
  • Apply the different verb tenses in the reading comprehension of technical texts.
  • Manage, in reading comprehension, syntactic and morphological elements (verbs, countable and non-countable nouns, adjectives, adverbs, pronouns, connectors, references in the context, prefixes, compound nouns, subordinate clauses, nominal phrases, modal verbs, passive voice , comparative and superlative forms of adjectives, among others).
  • Use technical vocabulary related to computers to understand texts.
  • Apply the strategy of using the dictionary for the effective understanding of texts.
  • Extract main ideas from a text.
  • Interpret computer-related texts.

If you need to prepare for an upcoming job interview:

How to learn technical English for IT without dying trying

Learning a second language at a distance and for a specific purpose, in this case English for computer scientists, It is not an easy task. Hence, below are a number of suggestions for address the study of this matter:

Manage technical English for computer scientists and be successful
  • Have a positive and enthusiastic mind.
  • Choose a place where everything you need is close by and you can concentrate.
  • Work with dictionaries and other reference works. This will allow a faster development of the work.
  • Make a study schedule and stick to it; so you can bring the matter up to date.
  • Make flashcards of recently learned words as well as grammar rules. Prioritize the lexicon you are going to learn.
  • You should concentrate on computer vocabulary in English. Therefore, it is necessary to study the different elements together in order to learn effectively.
  • It is also useful to stick labels with the name of these in English on your household objects.
  • To improve your reading comprehension, take into account the following steps: read the text, look for the key terms, determine the main ideas, relate the structure with the content, identify characters, things, actions, relationships, time and place of events.

learning resources

  • For daily practice, the articles section of Codecademy It may be a good choice. This is a series of publications in English that explain in depth basic and complex concepts of the computer world, especially focused on web development.
  • freeCodeCamp gives you access to free 100% programming courses taught by English-speaking tutors from around the world. It is an excellent opportunity to learn new skills while training your listening and reading comprehension.
  • Prefer printed guides? We recommend the bookEnglish for computer users”; Authors: Francisco García Jiménez, Ma Ángela Ruíz de Adana Garrido. One of the works best valued by computer technical English students. 

Self-assessment exercises

Here is a homework to start training your technical vocabulary on your own: 

  1. Read the following text and answer the questions.

Types of Computers

There are a lot of terms used to describe computers. Most of these words imply the size, expected use or capability of the computer. While the term computer can apply to virtually any device that has a microprocessor in it, most people think of a computer as a device that receives input from the user through a mouse or keyboard, processes it in some fashion and displays the result on a screen.

  • pc

The personal computer (PC) defines a computer designed for general use by a single person. While a Mac is a PC, most people relate the term with systems that run the Windows operating system. PCs were first known as microcomputers because they were a complete computer but built on a smaller scale than the huge systems in use by most businesses.

  • Desktop

A PC that is not designed for portability is a desktop computer. The expectation with desktop systems is that you will set the computer up in a permanent location. Most desktops offer more power, storage, and versatility for less cost than their portable breed.

  • Laptop

Also called notebooks, laptops are portable computers that integrate the display, keyboard, a pointing device or trackball, processor, memory and hard drive all in a battery-operated package slightly larger than an average hardcover book.

  • PDA

Personal Digital Assistants (PDAs) are tightly integrated computers that often use flash memory instead of a hard drive for storage. These computers usually do not have keyboards but rely on touch screen technology for user input. PDAs are typically smaller than a paperback novel, very lightweight with a reasonable battery life. A slightly larger and heavier version of the PDA is the handheld computer.

  • work station

The fifth type of computer is a workstation. A workstation is simply a desktop computer that has a more powerful processor, additional memory and enhanced capabilities for performing a special group of tasks, such as 3D Graphics or game development.

A) Underline five relative pronoun phrases in the text.

b) Match the description in column B with your name in column A by typing the correct number in parentheses. One option is left in column A.


pc ( )

Desktop ( )

Laptop ( )

PDA ( )

Workstation ( )

Column B

  1. It is a lightweight, handheld computer. It is small enough to fit in the palm of your hand.

  2. It is a personal and portable computer. It has a flat LCD screen and uses batteries for mobile use.

  3. It has a very powerful processor and extra memory capacity due to the kind of work people employed it for.

  4. It is for one person use only. Formerly it was named microcomputer because of its size: being smaller than the ones employed in businesses.

  1. Define the following terms:


Output devices: output devices consist of products to extract the finish work from a computer. They can be divided into different categories. The printer and the monitor are types of output devices.

a. Hardware:


b. Control Unit: 


c. BusWidth:


d. BinaryCode:


and. RAM:


Glossary of technical English for computer engineers

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  • address: address
  • apps: app
  • “At” (symbol @): at sign
  • Attachment: attached document
  • Back (button): back
  • backup: backup
  • Bandwidth: Bandwidth
  • banner: advertisement
  • battery: battery
  • boot: start
  • browser: browser
  • bug: bug
  • button: button
  • wire: wire
  • Cache: cache memory
  • card: card
  • chat: conversation
  • click: click
  • clipboard: clipboard
  • code: code
  • cover: cover
  • dashboard: dashboard
  • computer: computer
  • computing: informatics
  • cookie: cookie
  • connect: connect
  • Copy and paste: copy and paste
  • Crash: crash, crash
  • cursor: cursor
  • customize: customize
  • Cut and paste: cut and paste
  • cyberspace: cyberspace
  • data: data
  • database: database
  • delete: erase
  • desktop: desktop
  • developer: programmer
  • digital: digital
  • disk: disk
  • document: document
  • domain: domain
  • dot: dot
  • download: download
  • drag: drag
  • execute: execute
  • Email: email
  • Erase: erase
  • file: file
  • flashmemory: flashmemory
  • folder: folder
  • Forward mail: forward mail
  • Google (verb): google
  • hacker: computer hacker
  • hacking: to hack
  • hard drive: hard drive
  • Headphones: headphones
  • High resolution—high resolution
  • Home page: initial page
  • Hyperlink: hyperlink
  • icon: icon
  • Inbox: inbox
  • install: install
  • installer: installer
  • interactive: interactive
  • internet: internet
  • item: item
  • key: key
  • keyboard: keyboard
  • keyword: keyword
  • laptop: laptop
  • LCD display: LCD display
  • link: link
  • Mailbox: mailbox
  • mail server: mail server
  • memory: memory
  • memory card: memory card
  • menu: menu
  • message: message
  • microphone: microphone
  • modem: modem
  • Mouse: mouse, mouse
  • network: network
  • open-source: open source
  • Operating system: operating system
  • option: option
  • Outbox: output tray
  • password: password
  • play: play
  • playlist: playlist
  • print: print
  • printer: printer
  • privacy: privacy
  • Privacy policy: privacy policy
  • private: private
  • Preview: Preview
  • processor: processor
  • program: program
  • Public domain: public domain
  • Reset: restart
  • router: router
  • save: save
  • scanner: scanner
  • screen: screen
  • screensaver: screensaver
  • Screenshot: screenshot
  • search engine: search engine
  • Secure server: secure server
  • server: server
  • shutdown: off
  • Software: programs
  • Smartphone: smartphone, smartphone
  • Social networks: social networks
  • Spam: junk mail, spam
  • speakers: speakers
  • Spreadsheet: spreadsheet
  • streaming: transmission
  • Subject: subject
  • Subscribe: subscribe
  • tab: tab
  • label: label
  • template: template
  • Terms and conditions: terms and conditions
  • Toolbar: Toolbar
  • touch screen: touch screen
  • Turn on: turn on
  • Turn off: turn off
  • update: update
  • Upload: upload, upload
  • user: user
  • username: username
  • Video
  • viruses: viruses
  • Webcam: webcam
  • web page: web page
  • website: website
  • Wi-Fi: Wi-Fi
  • window: window
  • wireless: wireless
  • Wireless adapter: adapter without cable. 

With the support of companies like English2Go you can master technical English for IT and advance your career.

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