My question is, in Engineering or Specialized Sciences which is the best translation for the concept Test: Ensayo o Prueba.
In Engineering, it is somehow common and standardized the concept Test (noun) to describe a procedure intended to establish the performance of something (ref. Oxford), as in the following applications:
- ASTM, the ASTM American Society for Testing and Materials, and its body of standards,
- Testing and Inspection, as per the ISO 9001 Quality Control and Quality Assurance clauses,
- Non-Destructive | Destructive Testing, as a common concept.
But in Spanish, I have failed to find a proper word, and both "Prueba" and "Ensayo" are used more or less equally without any specific criteria:
- For Mechanical and Structural Engineering, the word "Ensayo" (noun) is often used: Proof made to determine if something is works as intended (ref.Oxford): "Ensayo de Materiales", "Ensayo de Hormigón", "Ensayo de Barras de Acero", "Ensayo de Fuego". "Prueba" is seldom used for these applications.
- For Electrical and Piping Engineering, the word "Prueba" (noun) is used instead: Action of prove somebody or something to know its qualities (ref. Oxford): "Prueba de Hermeticidad", "Prueba de Fuga" "Prueba Dieléctrica", "Prueba Punto a Punto". "Ensayo" is seldom use for these applications, conversely.
- Finally, in General and for Quality Engineering, the words "Ensayo" and "Prueba" are both equally used, and the general concepts "Pruebas No Destructivas" y "Ensayos No Destructivos" are both equally used.
Google Searches tends to give more results for "Prueba" than "Ensayo", but this could be attributed the word "Ensayo" is less common and specific in sense in Spanish, meanwhile "Prueba" has a broader sense.
My impression is that in Engineering, the concept "Ensayo" involves a more elaborated setup, than the concept "Prueba" which involves something more broader and simple, like a measurement with an instrument.
What tricks me is, according the setup or even the Engineering Discipline, one should choose which one or another. So if you are mixing disciplines, you should be ready to use "Ensayo de Resistencia" and "Prueba de Resistencia" for referring to similar setups.