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Please help me with the translation of the phrase in the title. The problem is, in Russian, which is the language I'm translating from, 'technique' and 'technology' is one and the same word. Also, I don't quite understand the difference between the two in this particular context.

  • TECHNIQUE - the method of accomplishing, the body of procedures used in any specific field; a way of carrying out a specific task.
  • TECHNOLOGY - a scientific or industrial process, method etc.; the application of scientific knowledge for practical purposes.

So basically in this context both could refer to the method of production. I tried just googling both phrases to see which pops up more - and guess what? I get food processing technology and food processing techniques. I'm totally confused now! Would processing be the same as production?

  • A "technique" is flipping a hamburger. A "technology" is slaughtering the cow, butchering it, grinding the meat, forming it into patties, and shipping it off to Burger King. – Hot Licks May 28 at 21:45
  • Food processing technology: includes the theory, equiqment, and procedures used in practice. Food processing technique: could be one specific procedure, e.g. *Use your preferred food processing technique to prepare the zucchini slices, ensuring they don't get mushy. – aparente001 May 29 at 5:45
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A technique tends to mean the same as a method, often implying a degree of skill and the involvement of human execution.

A technology tends to refer to machinery or capital equipment - possibly, by extension, a body of explicit knowledge.

Referring to a technique does not necessarily imply the presence of a technology - for example, an artist may have a "brush technique". A technology probably usually has techniques - for example, a printing technology may involve particular techniques to apply ink to paper.

But the words are not synonyms. A food processing technique may be done entirely by human hand, and involve no technology (as the word is commonly understood).

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In many cases the word choice creates a difference in emphasis:

  • Technique emphasizes method, and hence the expertise of the individual employing the method. See Merriam-Webster, "technique, noun," where manner is associated with details or movements and method is the central focus.

  • Technology emphasizes applied knowledge itself, and hence the resulting implement, tool, device, or capability. See Merriam-Webster, "technology, noun," where practical application, capability, and manner take precedence.

So in food production techniques, one may emphasize the role of the individual preparer or a specific production-line method:

University education of gastronomic experts can help to advance the slow food agenda through the preservation of knowledge about food production techniques and local cuisines by embedding knowledge of local systems of food production into a global framework. (Focus on meal preparation involving local methods.)

Such quality concerns can include food safety and aesthetic attributes, but they also include concerns about how food is made, and the impact that food production techniques have on the environment, on labor, and on animal welfare. (Focus on methods for producing food, and specifically meat.)

Meanwhile, in food production technologies one may emphasize the application or capability of specific tools:

Traditionally, the progress addressed in food production technologies has been to improve the nutritional and sensorial quality of products, as well as to extend product shelf life and to increase process productivity. (Focus on process and capability.)

Both Cohen and Yesner invoke aspects of optimal foraging theory in relation to resource depletion and population growth in order to explain why apparently abundant species and simple food production technologies were neglected for tens of thousands of years prior to the Neolithic. (Focus on application of potential capability generally.)

Are they absolutely different? No. The two words are somewhat interchangeable; in the second long quote above either "technique" or "technology" would describe a large-scale set of processes that would have an effect "on the environment, on labor, and on animal welfare." At that point, use your own judgment and decide what you want to emphasize with your word choice.

  • Thank you for such a detailed answer! Yes, from the examples you gave here, I only see a slight difference between the terms. I am well aware of the meaning of technique in the sense that other contributors mentioned, but your examples actually make it obvious that the difference is more subtle than one might think. I think I'll go for technology, though. – Phi Kay Jun 11 at 16:56

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