21 Most Interesting Facts About Language Translation


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What Didn’t You Know About Translation?

There are many things you don’t know about translation services. A good translation service is a versatile service that can do just about anything you ask them to. These services have a way of sneaking in places that you thought have no place for the translation industry, but they come in and they have a jolly good time and make you realize that yes, they are useful.

Many a time, people try to deny the existence of translation services and translators, negating their use and their effectiveness. However, time and time again, this industry has proven to be useful, resourceful and sprightly in situations that are rather dull and boring.

Translation services are everywhere around you. The person sitting next to you could be a translator, no serious check. With the demand for translation services rising with every passing hour, translation services are getting diverse and very entertaining.

Here are some interesting facts about language translators, translation services and everything in between that you never knew.

  1. Translation Prowess To Extreme
    • When people think of a translator, they imagine a dusty old woman, sitting in her pajamas with nerdy glasses perched on her nose, probably with a bad head full of bed hair and a social pariah. Well, some of that description is true, but most of it is not (maybe). But have you wondered why is that? Why do these people sit at home in front of their computers all the time and not care about how they look?
    • Because an average translator translates 300, 000 to 1, 000, 000 words in a year. And this is the statistics of an average translator. Things go to extreme levels if the translator is working with a translation service provider. So next time you judge a translator by his or her looks, think of the entire great translation prowess they have.
  2. Enough For A Whole Town
    • Many people believe that there are never enough certified translators to help them with their translation needs. However, their facts need some fact-checking. According to the recent survey, there are over 300,000 certified translators. That is enough to fill a whole town people.
  3. Most Translators In The World
    • Many companies complain that there are few translators to be found when they need them (considering the above point, I don’t believe these people). The companies who complain the most often are American and guess what? Most of the translators belong to America. That’s right, 45% of the translation community live in America.
  4. Most Often Translated
    • The people who claim “English is the language of the internet” are very seriously wrong. The world is beyond the English language, and we have the data to prove it. According to research, the languages that are mostly translated into other languages are English, French, German, Italian and Russian. Yes, folks. People now prefer to read things in their own languages, thank you very much.
  5. Most Often Translated Into
    • And do you want to know which languages are chosen to reach more people and a greater niche market? You do! The chosen languages are French, Spanish, German and Japanese. The word is finally out!
  6. Even French and German Love To Read
    • We all know that there are people who love to read, and then there are people who inhale books like nobody’s business. And it turns out; French-speaking and German-speaking people love to read (or inhale) books too. Because in the first decade of the 21st Century, novels and books of all sources and types were translated into German and French more than any other language. And professional translation service providers translated most of them.
  7. English And Arabic Are The Same (Almost)
    • Many people complain that their English to Arabic translator didn’t do a good job. They base this complaint about the fact that the translator didn’t use the correct punctuation. Well, did you know that Arabic and English have the same punctuation marks? Yes, they do. Even though they don’t have any common roots, they have the same punctuation system. So next, go easy on the poor translator.
  8. The Word, It’s THE Word
    • Do you know which English word is most difficult to translate? It is “set” or “sets.” Surprised? Don’t be. Set is the single most difficult English word to translate into another language because it has several meanings and contexts that can create fill a whole universe. It has many definitions and connotations, and it becomes very difficult to find an appropriate word for it in another language that has the same meaning and connotation.
  9. No Need For Punctuations Here!
    • Contrary to popular belief, the Chinese language (both traditional and simplified) uses punctuation marks. Whoever started this rumor did not understand how the Chinese language works. The Chinese language has punctuation marks, and the quality of translation services have been trying to make the world see the light for a very long time.
  10. Vowels Are Tricky
    • Vowels are very tricky to translate, especially when a translator has to convert them into a vowel free language. Languages like Hebrew, Aramaic, Arabic, Tigrinya, and Amharic have no vowels. And when the translators have to translate words like facetious and abstemious, you can imagine things can get a little nightmarish for them. Words containing vowels are not easy to translate to people!
  11. Some Languages Are Just Darn Difficult
    • People believe that every single thing can be translated in a matter of minutes. And sometimes, it is indefinitely true. However, there are some languages that are just too difficult, and to make sure the quality of the translation is good, the translators take some extra time. Some of the most difficult languages in the world include Arabic, Hungarian, Japanese, Finnish, Korean, Navajo, Icelandic, Basque, Polish and Chinese.
    • So next time, you are getting something translated into one of these languages, give some breathing room to the translator.  He knows what he is doing.
  12. Difficult Words To Translate
    • There are words in languages that are very difficult to understand, let alone translate into other languages. However, time and time again, we come across words that boggle our minds because they’re impossible to translate into other languages. There is no way we can translate words like Jayus (a poor joke, so bad you cannot help but laugh at it), or Kyoikumama (a woman who pushes her kids to get good grades), or Tartle (the hesitation when feel while introducing a person when you have forgotten their name).
  13. The Easiest Language To Translate
    • There is a language that is far easier than English to translate. According to most translators with years of experience, Spanish is the easiest language to translate to or into. This is because in Spanish everything is written as it sounds, which makes it the easiest language to learn and translate. You can find very little grammatical irregularities in Spanish language and this is the reason people prefer Spanish to many, many international languages.
  14. The Average Salary Of A Translator
    • Translation services are not the easiest and it is not the best paying job in the world. This is not a business, mainly because there are so many misconceptions about translation services that people are really not aware of the benefits this little community can bring them. The average salary of a translator ranges between $22,311 and $38,000 per annum. The most experienced translators can earn between $79,000 and $80,431 per annum.
  15. 640,000 translators
    • This is how many are estimated in the world (source: Translators Association of China (TAC). 25% of these are working as freelancers.
  16. 520,000 words a year
    • That is what a translator working full time can be estimated to translate per year. An industry benchmark for translator output is around 250 words within an hour. Coincidentally, the average active vocabulary of an adult English speaker is said to be around 20,000 words. A passive one will have around 40,000 words, according to The Economist.
  17. The person who speaks the most languages
    • Ziad Fazah. The Guinness World Record holder for speaking the number of languages goes to this Liberian-born Lebanese polyglot. Fazah claims to read and speak 58 languages including Arabic, Polish, Thai, Urdu, Norwegian, and many more. While Fazah has proven his abilities to achieve the record there have been some questions marks. Most notably an appearance on a Chilean TV program, where he failed to understand beginner-level phrases in Finnish, Russian, Chinese, Persian, Hindi, and Greek, all of which he claims to be fluent in
  18. The Most Translated Document
    • It’s not surprising that the most translated literary work in history is the Bible that has been translated into 2932 languages. UNESCO has an online database named ‘Index Translationum’, which shows a list of all the books translated all over the world. The most translated document, however, is the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, developed by the United Nations in 1948. It was translated into 370 languages and contains six pages.
  19. The Most Translated Authors
    • Agatha Christie (7233 translations), Jules Verne (4751 translations) and William Shakespeare (4293 translations) are the most translated authors according to recent translation data. The title for the most languages into which the same book has been translated goes to The Way to Happiness by Scientology author Ron Hubbard. It can be read in 70 languages as of 2010.
  20. The Most Expensive Language Combination
    • Several factors influence the cost of a translation. Supply and demand is the most important factor impacting cost. A translator’s origin (and current location) can also make a difference. Translators based in countries with a high cost of living have to charge more for their services to sustain their careers. Using the US as an example, according to Slator.com, the priciest language pairs in the USA are English to Japanese and English to Korean with the average price reaching $0.57 per word.
  21. The World’s Most Translated Website is
    • While you would expect a site such as Wikipedia, Google or Apple to take this title. The title of the most translated website in the world goes to Jehovah’s Witnesses (jw.org). They list over 900 language options on their website. Jehovah’s Witnesses will immediately begin translating each of their publications into every language in which they use. They’re on a mission to spread their faith to every corner of the globe, and they’re making use of language translation to achieve their goals.

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