Language focus | 25.09.2012

Language origins to modern-day translation services

Modern-day translation services often work with languages that are not only geographically close to one another, but also similar in many of the words that they use.

For instance, the word ‘wheel’ in English translates as ‘wiel’ in Dutch, while in French, Spanish and Portuguese it is ‘roue’, ‘rueda’ and ‘roda’ respectively.

This similarity between neighbouring languages is often a starting point for non-native speakers when trying to make sense of a document, and can help them to understand technical translations of documents.

But just how far back can we trace our modern-day languages?

Most experts agree that words like ‘wheel’ (and its non-English equivalents) have a common root, and were born about 6,000 years ago in what is now Ukraine.

However, new analysis published in Science takes a different view, suggesting that many of the languages used by present-day translation services can be traced back to a single area in modern-day Turkey and western Asia, and date back by almost 10,000 years.

Either way, the languages of the world have changed massively over the intervening years, as any detailed technical translation between two modern-day languages can demonstrate – making it more important than ever to employ translation agencies to get your wording just right.

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