Translation and languages are closely interrelated concepts.
Language is one of the most complex communication tools elaborated by humankind throughout the centuries. Besides linguistic features such as grammar, syntax, and lexis, each language has its unique cultural specifics and realia that make proper intercultural communication almost impossible without language specialists — translators.
Translation services are quite important to break the language barrier. As a company that offers translation services, we know how important a qualified translation is.
We tried to collect some interesting facts for you to know about the translation and languages and show how you can benefit from it.
1. Language is considered to be about 200,000 years old with the advancement in technology, translation has become more modern.
2. Translation is derived from Latin word ‘translationis’ which means ‘transporting or transferring something’. Fitting to describe a field of work where the aim is to transfer meaning from one language to another.
3. Currently, there are over 7000 languages on the Earth, but the majority of the world’s population speaks only 23 languages. Depending on your mother tongue and its relation to a language group, it can be harder to learn some languages than others. Therefore, it difficult to identify which language is the most complex in the world. However, if we assume the English language as the starting point, according to the Foreign Service Institute (FSI) the most difficult languages to learn for the English speakers are: Arabic, Chinese, Korean, and Japanese.
4. The chosen translation languages are French, Spanish, German and Japanese. English, French, German, Italian and Russian are the most targeted translation languages.
According to the most professional translators, Spanish is the easiest language to translate.
5. It has been stated that a professional translator can translate around 250 words within an hour. A translator working full time can translate around 520,000 words per year.
6. Translation and languages are the most important fields of study and profession. It is estimated that there are over 330,000 translators worldwide (plus much more who don’t do it professionally). That’s a very small percentage of the world’s population! About 0.0045% to be precise. A small group of talented individuals.
7. Translators are known for inventing alphabets, the precious tools that allow us to share our knowledge.
8. The English language has over 250,000 words, that’s a lot of words to know if you have to translate into or out of English! That said the average person knows approximately 10-20,000 words.
9. There is a set of qualifications and techniques demanded from a translator in order to meet the standards of quality and uniqueness. It has already been proved that it is not enough to know the languages and to be able to apply modern technologies used for the translation. Translation is an intuitive process that is based on translator’s creative capability.
10. Translators play a key role in providing access to foreign literature. Portuguese writer José Saramago, recipient of the Nobel Prize in Literature, expressed this reality so well when he said, “Writers make national literature, while translators make universal literature.”
11. The most translated literary work in the history of humanity is the Bible that was translated into 2932 languages. However, if we talk about the most translated document, it is a six-page Universal Declaration of Human Rights, developed by the United Nations in 1948. It was translated into 370 languages and dialects.
12. There is a system which is used as a specific language is named after handicap child Braille, who created the new way of reading & writing and designed six dots in which combinations of dots and spaces represented letters, numbers, and punctuation marks. Today this system got very popular. There is a Braille Code for almost every foreign language existing in the world. Even math, computer science, and music all have their own unique Braille systems.
13. Obviously English is the most popular language today on the web. Almost 52% of all content on the internet is produced in the English language. However, another half of global content is not. The following information is valuable for online businesses willing to expand to the foreign markets. So, if you want to grow your client base, consider translating your online store, business website, application, marketing content and other business documents into these languages:
- English (948,608,782 Internet Users)26.3%
- Chinese (751,985,224 Internet Users)20.8%
- Spanish (277,125,947 Internet Users)7.7%
- Arabic (168,426,690 Internet Users)4.7%
- Portuguese (154,525,606 Internet Users)4.3%
- Japanese (115,111,595 Internet Users)3.2%
- Malay (109,400,982 Internet Users)3.0%
- Russian (103,147,691 Internet Users)2.9%
- French (102,171,481 Internet Users)2.8
- German (83,825,134 Internet Users) 2.3%
The situation is a bit different when calculations are based on the amount of content available in certain languages. Top 10 popular languages on the web (as of March 2017) with the largest number of websites using those languages are:
- English 51.6%
- Russian 6.6%
- Japanese 5.6%
- German 5.6%
- Spanish 5.1%
- French 4.1%
- Portuguese 2.6%
- Italian 2.3%
- Chinese 2.0%
- Polish 1.7%
14. According to marketing statistics, people tend to purchase products and services if information about them is available in their native language. Therefore, language translation and localization services will help you to go global. To keep the pace with the leaders you can translate your business into several languages having the greatest potential. Fortunately, you don’t need to make wild guesses. Just use the data provided by Common Sense Advisory. Here are ten language pairs that are of the highest demand in the translation and localization market:
- English > Spanish
- English > Chinese
- English > French
- English > German
- English > Russian
- English > Portuguese
- English > Japanese
- English > Arabic
- English > Italian
- Spanish > Portuguese
15. If you are an investor looking for the best value for money, translation industry might be one of the investment options. According to GALA (Globalization and Localization Association) the size of overall language industry is estimated at USD 40 billion in 2016 with the potential to reach USD 45 billion by 2020. The anticipated annual growth rate is 6.5-7.5% through 2018.
Translations and translated texts are everywhere. The translation and languages play an integral role in today’s world. You may simply never think of those easy things but these are words that hit your goals. So, next time you’re reading something think about how many languages it’s been translated into already, or perhaps what the original text looked like.
This article is originally posted on our global translation blog Agato Legal Translation blog, we try to share with our audience in New Zealand every piece of knowledge about translation and languages that we believe it’s useful and informative. Happy reading!