Here’s a word that presents no big problem of accuracy to a translator. Instead the problem is frequency. Like misgeret (מסרגת, in English a “framework,” mentioned here some time ago), olam (עולם, a “world”) is used copiously in Hebrew, so that if always translated directly it may become obtrusive to the reader of English.
If not “world,” and assuming the translation need not be literal, what can we substitute? Ironically, “framework” — that other overused word — may be useful if it doesn’t happen to be overused in the same document. One could say F9 means one thing in the framework of Microsoft Word and another thing in the framework of Ashampoo Snap.
Among the dictionaries, Signet’s (by Dov Ben Abba) acknowledges that “world” can be just another way of saying “environment.” Similarly, Alcalay lists “surroundings.”
Other synonyms when it’s a small world after all are “arena” or “playing field,” “domain,” or “demesne,” “realm,” “sphere,” “purview,” and sometimes “discipline,” “field,” and “context.”
Certainly there’s no need to entirely banish the figurative use of the word “world,” and such English-language magazines as Slimming World, Sailing World, and BBC Gardeners’ World show how legitimate it is in English. But I would be in favor of a One World movement. One world at a time. If I open a copy of Slimming World, I don’t want to see an article called “The world of natural zero-calorie sweeteners.” No worlds within worlds.
Sometimes a null translation can be best of all; just skip the word. “F9 means one thing in Microsoft Word and another thing in Ashampoo Snap.”
Further ideas about translating “world” are welcome in the comment space below. If there’s another word you’d like opened for discussion, please e-mail me at firstname.lastname@example.org rather than writing a comment.