Translating the “Fachlichkeit” term into English

Markus Völter has written a really nice Medium article about making the core of the functionality of a system (he states software system, but I think this can be generalized to system) where the domain is concerned explicit. He calls this embodiment of the accrued expertise of a company (or a person) Fachlichkeit.

Since this is a word that is hard to pronounce, but really important, I have spent some time with Eugen Schindler (@eugenschindler) to find an English term that, in my opinion, does cover the meaning well enough and also enables you to make it into a verb and a verbal noun.

The word is: acumen. Using this word in the context described by Markus, would look like this:

  • Acumen (noun): the ability to make good judgements and take quick decisions
    • A domain expert has domain knowledge and acumen (due to this domain knowledge).
  • Acuate (verb): to make pungent or sharp
    • A domain expert’s knowledge can be acuated (i.e. explain, judge, analyze, decide) into some form (i.e. from writing a document to encoding it into a DSL structure/meta-model) for a purpose (i.e. solving specific problems)
    • Knowledge = WHAT, form = HOW, purpose = WHY, WHO? (i.e. language engineer), …
  • Acuation (noun): the act of sharpening
    • The process of doing so is called acuation.

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