3 Top Translation Trends to Look out for in 2019

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Translation is an ever-growing industry. New trends are constantly impacting the field whether they are technology or internet-related. If you’re a linguist or language service provider, one of your daily tasks involves trying to stay updated on the latest movements in the field. So, what are the top trends linguists and language service providers should look out for in the year to come? Here are the top 3 trends in translation to be aware of…


Video Translation

Video is taking the internet by storm. Online users are no longer interested in reading pages and pages of text. They prefer to indulge in videos on platforms like YouTube, Vimeo and DailyMotion. In fact, many popular news outlets are even using video to share their updates while service providers are shifting to video for brand awareness. Spare a few minutes to scroll through your Facebook or Instagram feed – it’s likely you’re seeing more videos than images, correct? Video content marketing is enveloping the internet and digital marketing space, and this only means one thing for translation agencies – it’s time to jump on the video translation bandwagon. Indeed, written content will always require translation but now, more than ever, video content and even subtitling are in line for localization. Companies will want to localize their promotional videos, while subtitles on online adverts will need to be translated to capture a worldwide audience. It won’t be long before everyone’s marketing efforts are completely dominated by video and LSPs need to be one of the first to benefit from this.


Post-Editing Machine Translation

Machine translation seems like the only way out for several people and businesses. There are a growing number of advancements in this area, particularly in Artificial Intelligence but that still doesn’t promise great results. Machine translation might come across as cheaper, more productive and reliable, but in actual fact, it’s far from it. The outcome of most machine translated content is generally poor, with incorrect grammar and false word choices. Nevertheless, a bad translation can sometimes be positive for language service providers as those who fall victim to awful machine translation are looking to improve it or rewrite it from scratch. That’s where post-editing machine translation comes into play – agencies like Pangea have an experienced and talented pool of human linguists to fix the areas where the machine went wrong. The more machine translation that is adopted alongside its delivery of poor results, the more post-editing services required. Ultimately, and most important above all, human translation is a lot more accurate, of quality and cost-effective.


Voice Search

Just like video, voice search is growing in popularity at increasing rates. Internet users are using voice recognition to conduct online searches. ComScore has predicted that 50% of search engine results will be conducted by voice instead of typing by 2020. That’s a short matter of time! Not only does Google have to keep up with these changes but translators and LSPs should, too. Voice search is closely related to SEO, so this means those who work in the translation industry need to keep pace with these trends. As this grows in popularity in 2019, translators and agencies will need to get the hang of keyword research in all languages. Translation agencies should expect several online companies to approach them for assistance in SEO translation. Everyone will be fighting for the top spot in search engine rankings and in order to reach different countries, they will need to implement the right keywords in their respective language.

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10 East and Southeast Asian Languages – A Definitive List

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Two out of the ten most popular languages in the world derive from East Asia. Chinese and Japanese are officially the most spoken languages worldwide, each standing at first and ninth place, respectively. However, East and Southeast Asian languages go far beyond just Chinese and Japanese – Malay, Burmese, and Thai are just a few of the additional common languages spoken in these regions.

After listing the most popular African languages in our previous blog post, we’ve taken the time to unravel Asian languages, too. So, from Indonesian to Korean, we present to you a definitive list of East and Southeast Asian languages and their interesting facts…

Mandarin (Chinese)

Mandarin is the official language of China. Titled the most natively spoken language in the world, Mandarin is said to have almost a billion speakers worldwide. It is also listed as one of the most recommended languages to translate your website into. Taught in all schools nationwide, Mandarin is based on a Beijing dialect and its words are generally recognized with their “儿 (ér)” sound at the end. Other forms of Chinese used across China include Cantonese, Hokkien, Wu, Gan, Xiang, Min, and Hakka. Chinese characters are called “logograms”. There are over 100,000 of these characters and each one represents a word or phrase. Additionally, Chinese has four tones along with a neutral tone with each one used to differentiate words.

Fun Fact? It is believed that those who speak Chinese use both sides of their brain (temporal lobes). English speakers, for example only use their left side. These temporal lobes are used to differentiate between words.


Malay

Used in countries such as Indonesia, Singapore, Brunei and of course, Malaysia, Malay is spoken by more than 20 million people worldwide. Also known as “Bahasa Melayu”, this Southeast Asian language has two different dialects. The northern dialect is spoken in Malaysia, Singapore, and Brunei while the southern dialect is used in Indonesia. Believe it or not, Malay has been the inspiration for several English words. “Cockatoo” for example, comes from the word “kakatua” in Malay, which is a name of a bird. “Sarong” was inspired by the word “sarung”, which is a type of sheath or covering.


Bonus Fun Fact? Malay and Indonesian are extremely similar languages, in the same way American and British English are.


Indonesian

As mentioned earlier, Indonesian and Malay are closely related. As a matter of fact, it is considered a dialect of the Malay language with the differences only lying in vocabulary and accent. Indonesian is believed to be the native language of approximately 23 million people. It is also spoken by a said 156 million people as a second language. Unlike languages like Mandarin and Japanese which have their own writing script, Indonesian uses the Latin script. For this reason, it is considered one of the easiest Asian languages to learn.


Fun Fact? Indonesian is the third most used language in WordPress. There are more than 1.5 million Indonesian blogs on the CMS.


Burmese

Burmese, also known as “myanma bhasa” is the official language of Myanmar. It is spoken by over 50 million people around the world, with most speakers based in Thailand, Malaysia, Singapore, and of course, Burma. Burmese is a tonal language, which means one word could have several different meanings depending on its tone (high or low sound, for example).


Fun Fact? The Burmese script uses rounded letters due to the traditional use of palm leaves as writing material. Any straight lines would have torn the leaves. The Burmese script is known as “ca-lonh”, meaning ’round script’.


Thai

Spoken by around 60 million people globally, Thai is the official language of Thailand, but it is also spoken in countries like Malaysia, Cambodia, Myanmar, and Laos. There are different dialects of the language according to different areas of the country, and there are also varying registers (in Standard Thai) including Street Thai (spoken to friends), Elegant Thai (to strangers), Rhetorical Thai (for public speaking), Religious Thai (to monks), and Royal Thai (spoken to or about the royal family).


Fun Fact? Unlike Western languages, Thai words do not change according to tenses, plurals, or genders.


Japanese

Japanese is spoken by more than 120 million people in Japan and it is ranked as the 9th most popular language in the world. This Asian language is considered one of the most difficult and complex to learn in terms of writing. There are four systems of writing which include kanji, hiragana, katakana, and romaji. Kanji is based on the Chinese writing system and includes 2000 characters; Hiragana is the most original writing system which is used for simple words and even children’s literature; Katakana is used when writing foreign words and finally, Romaji is a romanised form of Japanese words. It’s also worth noting that Japanese is one of the only Asian languages that isn’t tonal.


Fun Fact? Japanese speakers make up less than 2% of the world’s population but nearly 10% of internet users.

Vietnamese

Vietnamese is the official language of Vietnam and it is also spoken by many people in countries like Cambodia, Laos, Philippines, and Thailand. It is a language that’s very much influenced by Chinese although it does have some French influences. Spoken by more than 70 million people worldwide, Vietnamese was once written using Chinese characters, as China ruled the area in historic times. By the 17th century however, the Latin alphabet took over due to French colonial rule.


Fun Fact? Countries like Germany are using Vietnamese as a popular foreign language to study due to the many Germans making economic investments in Vietnam.


Korean

Korean is spoken by roughly 80 million speakers around the world. Used as the official language in both North and South Korea, Korean is also spoken by millions in China, the United States, Japan, and even Kazakhstan and Uzbekistan. Despite its distinct grammar, up to 60% of Korean words have Chinese origin. When it comes to translation? Due to the difference in alphabets and script size and lengths, Korean documents are usually difficult to translate, especially when it comes to the Latin alphabet. For example, more space will be required for bigger words and additional characters.


Fun Fact? Korean letter shapes are made to look like the tongue, mouth, and teeth when articulating their sounds.


Filipino

The Philippines may have 130 languages but its official and most popular is Filipino. It is also spoken in other nations such as the United States. Filipino is often confused with the Tagalog language but in fact, Tagalog is said to be the foundation of the Filipino language. They have the same grammar and vocabulary, but Tagalog is mainly spoken in Central Luzon, while Filipino is spoken nationwide.


Fun Fact? Tagalog is heavily influenced by the Spanish language. 40% of its vocabulary consists of Spanish words and its influence has been passed down to Filipino to this very day.

Mongolian

Mongolian is spoken by approximately 2,000,000 people. It is the official language of Mongolia and is also used by some of its surrounding areas. Although it is considered one of the least spoken languages in the world, it is still a significant Asian language. In fact, it is one of the oldest languages of our time, and it is referred to as one of the most complicated to learn. Believe it or not, Mongolian uses the Cyrillic alphabet, although it is very distinct from the Russian language. It does however, borrow Russian words for technology-related terms.



Fun Fact? Although it has a totally different alphabet, Mongolian is actually like Japanese and Korean in terms of grammar and sentence structures. It is said to have more vowels compared to other popular languages in the world.

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Top 10 Most Popular African Languages

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Want to enter the African market? Does your product/service tailor to one of the largest continents in the world? It’s time to consider translating and localizing your content. There are over 1000 African languages in existence so it can be quite mind-boggling trying to nail down which one you should choose to offer your product or service in. Luckily enough, we’ve listed the 10 most popular languages spoken in Africa…

1. SWAHILI

The most spoken language in Africa is Swahili which is said to have over 100 million speakers. Known as a ‘Bantu’ language, Swahili apparently originated from other languages like Arabic. This is the official language of Tanzania, Uganda and Kenya but it is also used in places like Ethiopia, Sudan, Burundi, Rwanda, southern Somalia, northern Mozambique and the Comoros Islands. Swahili is the main medium of instruction in schools and it’s not considered a difficult language to learn, especially if you already know some Arabic.


Fun Fact? Swahili was the language used in The Lion King. Remember ‘Hakuna Matata’? That means no worries in Swahili and ‘Simba’ means ‘lion’!


2. AMHARIC

Amharic is the main language spoken in Ethiopia by over 20 million speakers. It is considered the second most spoken Semitic language in the world after Arabic – these are languages that originate from the Middle East alongside Hebrew, Tigrinya and more. Amharic is written using the very unique Ge’ez writing system known as ‘fidel’.

Fun Fact? The capital of Ethiopia is Addis Ababa – this means “new flower” in Amharic.


3. YORUBA

There are over 30 million Yoruba speakers in Nigeria, Benin and Togo combined, making it one of West Africa’s most spoken languages. This African language has more than 15 dialects including Ekiti, Ijebu, Oworo, Ijesha and Akoko.


Fun Fact? The name Yoruba is also associated with the Yoruba Ethnic Group, which is one of the largest African ethnic groups in the region.


4. OROMO

A significant language spoken in countries like Ethiopia, Kenya, Somalia and Egypt is Oromo. Approximately 30 million people use this language and its people account for over 40% of the Ethiopian population. Believe it or not, the Oromos people were forbidden from writing this language between 1974 and 1991. In fact, it was considered a crime. Later however, Oromo scholars adopted a Latin script and it was then used to teach reading and writing.


Fun Fact? The Oromo language is actually called Afaan Oromoo.


5. Hausa

As one of Nigeria’s official languages, Hausa has over 40 million speakers around the continent. It is also spoken in countries including Benin, Burkina Faso, Cameroon, CAR, Chad, Congo, Eritrea, Germany, Ghana, Niger, Sudan, Togo and a lot of North Africa. Hausa uses the Boko and Latin alphabet and it is said to be one of the most advanced languages in Africa as a whole.


Fun Fact? Hausa is the only Nigerian language that has foreign station broadcasts. These include the BBC, Voice of Russia and Radio France Internationale.


6. IGBO

Alongside Nigeria, IGBO is also spoken in countries like Cameroon and Equatorial Guinea. This popular African language is spoken by 20 million people and it has over 20 individual dialects including Owerri, Eche and of course, Central Igbo. Most Igbo speakers are said to be bilingual in English as it is the principal literary language taught in Nigerian schools.


Fun Fact? The IGBO language gained prominence from Chinua Achebe, author of “Things Fall Apart” and whose majority of books were written in IGBO.

7. ZULU

One of the most widely spoken languages of South Africa, Zulu is said to be used by over 10 million people. Part of the Bantu language group, Zulu is very much related to other languages including Xhosa and Ndebele. As a matter of fact, Zulu and Xhosa have such similar dialects, that many wrongly mistake them for being one language.


Fun Fact? “Zulu” is not only a language, it is also the largest Ethnic group in South Africa.


8. SHONA

Most prominently spoken in Zimbabwe along with English, Shona is an African language used by over 10 million people. There are 3 distinct Shona dialects including the Karanga, the Zezuru and the Korekore. Stemming from the Bantu/Nguni language family, Shona uses the Latin script in its writing system.


Fun Fact? There are two different versions of Shona used for different purposes. A “low” variety of the language is used on a more casual basis like at home, while the “high” variety is used when praying.


9. ARABIC

Spoken by 280 million people worldwide, Arabic is also used by people in countries like Egypt, Algeria, Morocco, Mauritania, Libya and Eritrea. There is Modern Standard Arabic which is mainly used in communication with most Arabic speakers. This is the dialect used to write the language and is present in media and books. Classical Arabic, on the other hand, is mainly used to learn the language in an academic way.


Fun Fact? Arabic is one of the six most spoken languages in the world!


10. PORTUGUESE

Did you know that Portuguese is the official language of six African states? Known as “Lusophone Africa”, these states include Angola, Mozambique, Guinea-Bissau, Cape Verde, Sao Tome e Principe and Equatorial Guinea. Portuguese is used as a mother tongue by approximately 14 million people on this continent and it is said that there are around 30 million people who use it as a second language.


Fun Fact? Portuguese is actually the working languages of the African Union and the Southern African Development Community.


11. FRENCH

There are 26 African states that make up “Francophone Africa”. The top French-speaking countries in this continent include Gabon, Mauritius, Cote d’Ivoire, Senegal and Sao Tome e Principe. Apart from these, French is also spoken by in North African countries including Algeria, Tunisia and Morocco. Overall, French is spoken by over 120 million people in Africa.


Fun Fact? It is expected that there will be over 700 million French speakres in the world by 2050 – 80% will be located in Africa.


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Which Languages Should You Translate Your Website Into?

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Translating your website can bring multiple benefits for your business. Not only will you reach new audiences and engage with international clients, you’ll ultimately and most importantly boost revenue, too. Once you decide to go global however, you need to carefully and cautiously select the languages to translate your website into. Don’t make haste decisions – analyze your traffic, find out which demographic your target audience is, and most importantly, do your online research. Find out which languages are most popularly used on the internet and start planning your website translations accordingly.

According to Internet World Stats, English, Chinese, Spanish, Arabic and Portuguese are the most popular languages used online. Have you considered these languages for your website translation?


English

Spoken in 94 countries by 375 million people globally, English is certainly the number one language in the world. It holds the top spot as the most popular language used online with Internet World Stats measuring approximately 985 million users as of June 2017. Most of you probably already offer your website in English. Good on you. Although this is the most used language online, 90% of EU internet users reportedly favor a website in their own language. If you care about attracting foreign customers, you need to start considering adapting your web content to different dialects.

Simplified Chinese

There are approximately 771 million Chinese speaking internet users online. That’s a huge audience you could be missing out on if you don’t offer your content in this language. If you believe your services would be appropriate for a Chinese audience, it’s time to translate your content and make it appropriate for that locale. Not only is it a large market, China is also the second largest economy in the world. Business opportunities could be huge!

Spanish

Think of it this way – not all of your website visitors speak English. Depending on your product or service, you might need to think about targeting Spanish speakers. Spanish is the third most popular language online and the second most spoken language in the world. If you translated your web content into this language, you could potentially reach a whooping amount of 312 million people. Localize your content for countries like Spain, Mexico, Argentina, Colombia, Chile and Peru and you’ll soon find your business thriving internationally.

Arabic

Arabic is currently the fourth most popular language used online with approximately 185 million users. According to Clear Words Translations, Google has even developed domains and integrated language options for 15 Arabic countries. The Middle East also happens to be a high growth region, ideal for businesses. It’s a growing language online and it’s only a matter of time before your competitor begins offering its website in that language. Be one of the first from your industry to offer your services in Arabic and beat the competition from now.

Portuguese

As the fifth most popular language in the world, it only makes sense that you translate your website into Portuguese. It is said to be spoken by around 215 million people in Portugal, Brazil and some parts of Africa. As a matter of fact, UNESCO reports that Portuguese is the fastest-growing European language after English. Following the 2016 Olympic Games, a lot of attention shifted towards Brazil, helping it become recognized as a nation of high economic potential. Business opportunities in this market are only expected to grow. If you believe your website would suit the Brazilian (or any other Portuguese) market, highly consider translating and localizing your content for this locale.

If you want to expand your audience and venture into various global territories, make sure to invest in localization for at least one, of all of these languages. Choose a company like us to carry out your website translations – Pangea provides language services in all the above languages and more!
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