Undoubtedly, language plays a pivotal role in our everyday lives. We use language to interact and engage with one another. Recent studies suggested that all human languages arose from a common language spoken by our ancestors in Africa. Probably, human languages started to develop nearly 200,000 years ago. There are more than 6,500 different languages in the world today, which, in turn, created a tremendous need for translation to help people communicate efficiently with one another and avoid the language barriers.
Read seven interesting and mind-blowing facts you probably never knew about translation:
1- Origin of “Translation”
The English word “translation” is derived from the Latin word “translatio”, which comes from two words: “trans” and “ferre” (latio comes from latus, the past participle of ferre). The word “translatio” means “a carrying across” or “a bringing across.” In this context, it means: a bringing across of a text from one language to another.
2- Most translated book
It is no secret that the most translated literary work in history is The Bible; it has been translated into almost 3000 languages! However, the most translated book – as a whole – is the one titled Listen to God and Live Forever by the Jehovah’s Witnesses. It has been translated into more than 600 languages. Interestingly enough, The Little Prince by Antoine de Saint Exupéry and Pinocchio by Carlo Collodi, have been translated into 300 and 260 languages, respectively. Moreover, the six-page United Nation’s Universal Declaration of Human Rights is considered to be the most translated document. It has been translated into over 400 languages.
3- Top 5 translated authors
According to the UNESCO’s online database “Index Translationum” which includes a list of all books translated all over the world, the top 5 translated authors are: Agatha Christie (7236 translations), Jules Verne (4751 translations), William Shakespeare (4296 translations), Enid Blyton (3924 translations) and Barbara Cartland (3652 translations).
4- International Translation Day
On September 30, the International Translation Day is celebrated every year on the feast of St. Jerome. The latter was The Bible translator and considered the patron saint of translators. The International Federation of Translators (FIT) established it for the first time in 1953 as the day of translators. In 1991, it became an International Translation Day officially.
5- Top popular language pairs for translation
In 2015, the Common Sense Advisory (CSA) conducted a study on the fastest-growing language pairs. According to this study, the top 10 most popular language pairs are:
♥ English > Spanish
♥ English > Chinese
♥ English > French
♥ English > Germany
♥ English > Russian
♥ English > Portuguese
♥ English > Japanese
♥ English > Arabic
♥ English > Italian
♥ Spanish > Portuguese
6- Punctuation marks in English and Arabic
Both English and Arabic languages use the same punctuation marks, despite the fact that both languages are different in every aspect.
7- Most expensive language combination
Needless to say, the law of demand governs the markets all over the world which means when the price of a service or good increases, quantity demanded decreases and vice versa. Translation market is no exception. According to a survey conducted by Slator.com on all 75 US government-certified language providers, the priciest language pairs in the local market are English-Japanese and English-Korean, with the average price ranging from $0.14 to $0.57 per word!