damper = shock absorber (coche)?

Discussion in 'Specialized Terminology' started by Gringuita Latina, Apr 14, 2013.

  1. Gringuita Latina Senior Member

    Ashford, Kent UK
    English, UK
    Hi all,

    I am translating a text about cars (sale, manufacturing, dealerships etc) and have come across the word 'damper'. From the dictionary here it seems 'damper' is actually an English word which can mean amortiguador, which can in turn mean 'shock absorber' which in my limited specialist knowledge I know is a part of a car!!

    So could 'damper' be the 'jargon' term for 'shock absorber'?

    The sentence context is:

    En numerosos casos, <BRAND> excluye averias que el cliente XX (cadenas de distribucion, carbonilla en culata, damper,etc..)no deberia asumir. Esto repercute directamente en su satisfaccion.


  2. donbeto

    donbeto Senior Member

    Vancouver (Canada)
    Eng (Canada)
    I wouldn't say it was jargon so much as BrE. What we call shock absorbers, they call dampers (or dampeners).
  3. Gringuita Latina Senior Member

    Ashford, Kent UK
    English, UK
    Ah, ok... apologies :) Thanks donbeto
  4. sound shift

    sound shift Senior Member

    Derby (central England)
    English - England
    In BrE I have heard both "damper" and "shock absorber". The two terms seem to be alternative ways of saying "amortiguador". We are talking about the suspension system here.

    But I've seen a few contexts in which Spanish "dámper" is part of the engine: a device that reduces vibration in the crankshaft. I suspect that the "damper" in your Spanish sentence is part of the engine because the other terms between the brackets are engine parts and because the use of the singular suggests that we are not talking about the four wheels. This Wikipedia article claims that the damper that reduces vibration in the crankshaft is called "torsional damper" in English.
    Last edited: Apr 15, 2013
  5. black_bird_blue New Member

    English - British
    I just stubbed my toe on this looking for someone else. There exists the concept of "damping down" a fire and there are components of fireplaces which inhibit the flow of air to reduce the activity of the fire. These were called "fire dampers" (and still are on google). Using existing terminology was very common during the explosion of new ideas that was the 20th century and vehicles were no exception. Any device which reduces activity is referred to in British English engineering circles as a "damper". Thus a device to reduce torsional vibrations might well be called a torsion damper, or a crank damper. If it reduces the activity of the suspension then it is a "suspension damper", often reduced to just damper with familiarity.

    In US English, the term "damper" is largely incomprehensible and "shock absorber" is much more common for suspensions. For British English speakers this represents something of a travesty because dampers transmit shocks and not absorb them (a spring and damper together could be described as a shock absorbing system), but nevertheless it is what it is. For other types of "energy attenuators" I'm not familiar with the terms used in US English.

    And finally - the thing that made me comment - is that "dampener" is in no way interchangeable with damper. To dampen is to make moist; if you dampen a fire it makes a great deal of smoke and it is not an effective means of moderating the fire output. You can wet your springs or crankshaft as much as you like but it doesn't change the activity. "Damp" and "Dampen" as verbs are not interchangeable, I suggest. (Although I note the Oxford English Dictionary online allows meaning one of "damp" as a verb to be to "make wet").

    I am a British English speaker by birth, an Engineer by vocation and am employed by an American company. I work with suspension systems. This comes up a lot for me...


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