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May 28, 2018

Translation Services Help You Deal With Hard-to-Translate Languages (Part 2)

by Jim Dulin

Welcome back to the second half of our two-part article on the hard languages to translate and how a translation service can help. Last time we talked about languages that are hard to translate vs languages that are hard to find translators for along with a few statistics. Let’s start back up at difficult languages for translators to learn.

Hard Languages to Translate

It is within any professional translation service’s best interests to collect translators that know a wide variety of languages. Assuming that you’re starting from English (which is hard enough to learn for non-natives), One vendor rates Mandarin Chinese as the top most difficult to learn, while another makes an equally strong case for Hindi. Both languages are spoken by many millions of people, have grown in complexity over their long existences, and have incredibly non-roman character sets. Following these two leaders are Japanese, Korean, and Arabic, each with their own character set and complex special requirements. In the small but difficult category comes Icelandic, Basque, Hungarian, Navajo, and Finnish.

What Make a Language Hard To Learn / Translate?

The more difficult a language is to learn, it generally stands that it is also more difficult to translate. The way we speak (and write) to a certain extent shapes and is shaped by the way we think, meaning that it is also more challenging to translate the same concept between two very different languages. Not to mention complex conjugation forms. Learning Japanese, for instance, requires the knowledge of three separate writing systems with individual alphabets. Iceland, on the other hand, tries to be a unified language but has become a mix of archaic traditional phrases and newly invented words based on the root language. Korean and Basque share the unique markers of not apparently having been derived from any other language, meaning that translators who like to work within a linguistic family are out of luck.

Whether your projects needs to be translated into one locally unusual and difficult to learn language or if you need a variety of translations for multiple international markets, a professional translation service is your best bet. They are the most likely to have a collection of skilled translators from various regions and linguistic capabilities to help you get exactly the translation your project needs. For more tips and information about working with a professional translation service, contact us today!

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