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Law firms are digitizing, not digitalizing.

The differentiation is worth maintaining.



Law firms are digitizing, not digitalizing.

Chinua Asuzu

The verb digitize (a computing term) means

(a) “to convert into a binary string of data,” Garner’s Modern English Usage, 5th ed., 333;

(b) to “convert (pictures, text, or sound) into a digital form that can be processed by a computer,” New Oxford American Dictionary and Oxford Dictionary of English; or

(c) to “adapt (a system, process, etc.) to be operated with the use of computers and the internet.” New Oxford American Dictionary.

The verb digitalize (a medical term) “means ‘to give digitalis to,’ referring to the drug derived from the digitalis plant and used in treating heart conditions.” Garner’s Modern English Usage, 5th ed., 333.

Even if you find some dictionaries approbating synonymy between the two verbs, never join the linguistically imprudent in misusing digitalize for digitize. In the computing context, always use digitize.

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