Holacracy Community of Practice Archive, 2015-2019 Community Holacracy Web Site

How should I translate Holacracy?

Very strange question, I know. But I would like to understand the reason the prefix is hola instead of holo. It seems the word is derived from holarchy, not from holon. Am I right? 

 

I'm asking this question because I want to translate the word to Portuguese correctly. I saw that some people call it "holocracia" and others "holacracia". In Portuguese, holarchy is translated as holarquia, so I'm keeping the prefix as it is in English (hola).

 

By the way, should the framework name be translated? 

correctly

6 Replies
Bernard Marie Chiquet
10/28/2015

Hola stands for holarchy

Mieke Byerley
10/28/2015
Originally Posted by Davi Gabriel da Silva:

Very strange question, I know. But I would like to understand the reason the prefix is hola instead of holo. It seems the word is derived from holarchy, not from holon. Am I right? 

 

I'm asking this question because I want to translate the word to Portuguese correctly. I saw that some people call it "holocracia" and others "holacracia". In Portuguese, holarchy is translated as holarquia, so I'm keeping the prefix as it is in English (hola).

 

By the way, should the framework name be translated? 

correctly

Hi Davi,

Some may have already seen this as It has been a topic of discussion in both LinkIn and Facebook Communities. But maybe this will shed some lighton your question. 

  • One needs to understand the origin of the word and the reasoning and background. Firstly Holacracy isn't just an operating system, just like Democracy, Sociocracy, Autocracy, Bureaucracy, Plutocracy, Mobocracy are not Operating Systems. They are all Governance Systems applicable not just within the Workplace but in all aspects requiring Governance. Hol-a-cracy means: 'Hol-' from Holon meaning an Autonomous self reliant unit, which in turn is derived from (gk) Holo- meaning whole (This is the concept on which the governance model is built and the anchor point of Self-Management); '-a' from (gk) is a connective vowel; '-cracy' from (gk) kratia, meaning rule, strength, power. So you see when broken down the word describes exactly and eloquently what Holacracy is, rule (or governance) through whole autonomous self-reliant units. The issue I have come across more often, is the misunderstanding of what Holacracy truly is. Through reading many articles both promoting and criticising Holacracy as well as many conversations, I have come to realise that we are not very good at conveying the principle, the nature, the essence of what Holacracy is due to our own evolving understanding of it. We are all still discovering and as a result we use terms that are familiar or are the nearest known representation to the ideas, however they are often limited by our own industry, culture, socioeconomic, educational framework etc. This is the reason why H1 has placed Holacracy out in the public domain, as they are aware that they are only a part of it and can contribute only from their perspective, they recognised the need for input from other Holons. As for the difficulty of pronunciation, I would say that most words in any language would cause difficulty for any non-native speaker, I speak Dutch and English fluently and have studied Spanish, Japanese, Greek and Latin but that still doesn't mean pronunciation in any of those languages is easy or always flawless. Difficulty with pronunciation has nothing to do with the concept but everything to do with the mind set of the person raising it as an issue. Human beings don't like change, they don't like things they do not understand and as a result will throw up the excuse 'it is to difficult, it is to complex, it is to doctrinal, to sectarian, etc' what they are saying is I can't wrap my head round the concept and I don't want to look stupid, this is part of normal Human nature and has effected every new concept and word ever brought into existence. My recommendation is that instead of changing the Name which perfectly describes the meaning of the concept, we need to focus on better conveying the Concept to the world in language that is more accurate and better understand the concept ourselves.

Mieke Byerley
10/28/2015

Incidentally if you look at the word origin of Holarchy (also known as Holoarchy) Hol-archy then you will realise that it has the same root 'Hol-' from Holon meaning an Autonomous self reliant unit, which in turn is derived from (gk) Holo- meaning whole (This is the concept on which the governance model is built and the anchor point of Self-Management); 'archy' from Greek -arkhia "rule," from arkhos "leader, chief, ruler," from arkhe "beginning,origin, first place".

 

What is the difference then between Holacracy and Holarchy? Well, Holacracy denotes the METHOD/system/process of the power distribution (governance), where as Holarchy denotes the ORIGIN of that power (seat). So you could say that a Holacracy is enabled through the existence of a Holarchy. Hope this makes sense.

Olivier Compagne
11/04/2015
Originally Posted by Davi Gabriel da Silva:

By the way, should the framework name be translated? 

 

Hey Davi, 

 

In addition to the interesting discussion on the origin of the name Holacracy, at the end of the day "Holacracy" is the brand name and was an arbitrary invention.

 

Because of that, we (at HolacracyOne) don't encourage translating the name in other languages, just like you wouldn't translate the brand name "Apple" to "Maçã" in Portuguese.

 

For the same reasons, Holacracy has a capital "H" like all proper names, and we don't talk about "a Holacracy" but instead "a company running with Holacracy".

 

Hope that helps!

Eliana
04/07/2017

Well, in german we mostly use just Holacracy as it is originally named. In some  specific sectors anyway, people don't like adopting a lot of english words in their daily business. Then they translate all the key-titles (like Governance, tactical, etc.) and Holacracy is named Holokratie. (Would Holocracia/compania holocratica make sense to you?) 

kind regards from Switzerland! 

Eliana

Olivier Compagne
04/08/2017

Although anyone is free to use the words they want, it's worth noting that if you are offering Holacracy services (because you are a licensed agent or provider), then the current brand guidelines require that you use "Holacracy" and not a translation.