Language Evolution – The arch nemesis for translators and interpreters everywhere 

Language evolution through time and geographical distance presents a continuous challenge for professional translators and interpreters. A big part of being a successful language translation services or interpreter is staying updated on the changes that occur in all of their languages.

by Nisar Nikzad Tuesday, March 15, 2011
In the English language alone, there are lists miles long of words that have evolved to have different meanings. If someone from one hundred years ago, for example, were to hear the word “sick” in the context of something being “awesome” or “great”, they would be completely confused. The following words are only a few of the hundreds of words in the English language that have evolved in everyday conversations to mean something completely different, or have taken on new meanings in addition to what they meant in the past: “cool”, “sweet”, “tight”, “rad”, “cellular”, “computer”, “twitter”, “satellite”, “awesome”, “google”, and “fair” just to name a few.

As the above examples indicate, many parts of speech are affected by language evolution. These changes come about for a variety of reasons, but probably the most prominent factor is the changing technological world.

When told to “Google” something, what would someone from 1911 actually do?

Of course, not only do languages in their entirety evolve constantly with time, but different regions that speak the same language (such as Australian English vs. British English vs. United States English) gradually become different too. The same language can grow apart in two ways, the first of which is developing different words to express the same meaning and the second is developing different associations with the same word.

Language evolution through time and geographical distance presents a continuous challenge for professional translators and interpreters. A big part of being a successful language translation services or interpreter is staying updated on the changes that occur in all of their languages. What’s more, professional translators and interpreters have to keep track of both the inevitable temporal as well as geographical changes and differences in all of their working languages. The million dollar question is how one keeps track of these changes and differences in more than one language when staying on top of just one language can prove to be a full time job in and of itself.

Luckily, translators and interpreters have several options. The first of which is to identify which fields they will be working in and keep themselves updated in both languages on those fields. This can be done through both reading and listening to the news in all languages that they work in. The second option is to converse on a regular basis with native speakers of both languages and try to identify the colloquialisms, slang and new words used. Additionally, there are numerous sources online that offer slang explanations that can help anyone stay updated. All you have to do is “Google” it!

To know more about Nisar Nikzad visit his website: http://translationexcellence.com

0    submitted by Nisar Nikzad
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