Language focus | 01.11.2012

Language structure similarities mean good news for translation companies

Translation companies like The Translation People might be specialists at what we do, but it still helps when the two languages being used share structural similarities.

Any similarity between grammar and sentence structure makes our job easier – and can allow translation companies to more accurately convey the original meaning of the text in the target language.

Luckily, because languages are a human development, such similarities exist in many cases even where the languages developed separately.

For generations, scientists have tried to determine whether this is because those languages share common roots, or simply because the human brain always thinks with the same processes and structures.

Now it seems like the latter is the likely explanation.

Researchers at the University of Rochester devised two artificial languages, and asked English-speakers to use them to describe images.

They found a tendency for the speakers to alter the languages slightly to remove ambiguity from what they were saying – and always in similar ways, suggesting that the languages would develop in that way in the real world.

As a result, they suggest that the human brain is responsible for much of the structure of language, even in remote parts of the world, helping to explain some of the similarities translation agencies encounter on a daily basis.

Source: EurekAlert!

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