Why do languages die?

If you ask people in the street how many languages they think there are in the world, answers will vary. A joke says that a random sampling of New Yorkers resulted in inspiring answers such as “probably several hundred.” Clearly, this is quite far away from what we know today.  Funny enough, estimates have escalated over time. In 1911, the Encyclopedia Britannica implied a figure somewhere around 1,000 languages around the world at the time. That number escalated during the 20th century. During the course of time, 7,097 distinct languages have been catalogued according to the most extensive catalog of the world’s languages by Ethnologue (published by SIL International), generally accepted to be the authority in the field. Of course the number of languages has not multiplied in 100 years. In fact, languages die. It is our understanding of what a language is and how many languages are actually spoken in areas that previously had not been researched. Although it is hard to […]

3 reasons for a multilingual Joomla, WordPress or Drupal website and 7 things you should not do

by Manuel Herranz and Alex Helle If you are one of those people who believe that operating in English (or your national language and English as the default international language) suffices to talk to the rest of the world… we regret to inform you that there is a huge misconception in the way you approach the global marketplace. There are powerful reasons to have a multilingual Joomla, WordPress or Drupal website and I would like to help you understand why. A few months ago we reported in this blog on a study by the European Union that pointed to the fact that 90% of users preferred to visit websites in their own language. The survey, conducted by Gallup, found that Internet users in 23 EU countries prefer browsing and making purchasing decisions in their native languages. You can visit the link above to download the full PDF, but if you […]

6 important points for brands writing content for international audiences

by Manuel Herranz Writing content and distributing knowledge to international audiences can present a number of challenges.  The first one is for management to understand the value and ROI of multilingual content and translation into several languages. The second is for the brand itself (that is staff, from production to accounting) to believe they work for international markets. They need to be convinced that their salaries and the company’s revenue come from people that speak other languages and whose only affinity to them is the brand. Thirdly, traditional channels for the distribution of quality translations need to be complemented (or substituted) by the company’s website as a hub for multilingual knowledge, social media, etc. But we might call those three points the fundamentals. They are prerequisites. I would like to deal with some other points that brands can often miss when writing content for international audiences. This is a short […]

5 tips to translate a website in many languages and embed it in your business strategy

by Manuel Herranz Large enterprises and even SME’s around the world are realizing how important it is to translate a webpage in many languages. 1. A free website translator isn’t simply enough. It may do the job fairly well if you just need to understand a website in another language, but that kind of automatic translation is not good enough when you are looking to attract customers. 2. Free website translations published as good content send the wrong message to your potential audience. Google can be quoted as the best example. The search giant is very aware that it is the search engine of choice used around the world and it needs to be available to everyone. Since there are still billions of people who can’t read English or understand it, Google provides the option of translating websites and search results into the language they are familiar with – but […]

Machine translation: Can it be used to translate travel industry content?

by Manuel Herranz There have been strong opinions for and against machine Translation over the last few years. Whilst the general public has become a keen user of free online services, professional translators have poured bitter criticisms against the technology. Understandably, because the language industry is a small industry compared with other sectors where automation took place years ago (automotive industry, printing, telecommunications, to name a few). The Internet and in general any industry based on electronic communications has added to the increase in demand for multilingual websites, which means more translation for eCommerce sites and website translations. There are many supporters of machine translation technology because of the many advantages and problems it has solved where a translator could not be at hand and human translation was not an option. See the video celebrating Google Translate’s 10 years. But it has also gained something of a bad press, particularly […]

Medical Translations: Quality Matters

by Manuel Herranz When you think about two different jobs, doctors and translators do not come to mind as two related professions But the fields of life science and medicine and translation services do share at least one important feature: you never call the doctor until you need one. Likewise, you never search for translation services until you really need a translator. But the same could be said about the legal profession and legal translations or the engineering industry and technical translations. The translation industry is a multi-facetted industry and professional translators are supposed to be experts or knowledgeable about many fields. It is not a small industry either, and myths about the translation industry are disappearing as technology has been able to automate many processes. Ideally, experienced translators working in any of those particular areas of knowledge will help improve the conditions of each industry, and in particular the […]


American English Translations or British English translations – it matters

by Garth Hedenskog Any native British English speaker like myself will be able to recall a moment while using Microsoft Word® where their carefully chosen words get automatically corrected to American English – the default setting: “The shopper stood there momentarily to analyse the colour of the garment “ corrects to “The shopper stood there momentarily to analyze the color of the garment.” Both American and British English are dialects of the English language; the second most spoken language worldwide. This renders the language as an essential tool for somebody to express their opinions in their respective fields, particularly in the ever-increasing medical and pharmaceutical industries where English remains as the only literary language – a fact that is largely accepted within the scientific community. English was introduced to Native Americans during the 17th century during the colonisation of North America – and the worldwide strength of the language is […]

Evolution of the language technology landscape – TAUS Tokyo

by Manuel Herranz I attended the last TAUS meeting in Tokyo. This organization has come a long way in promoting machine translation among translation professionals, primarily translation buyers. Corporations like Microsoft, Adobe, Dell, eBay, etc., donated large bilingual data sets which allowed companies to improve the stage of machine translation, to run hundreds of tests with Moses in order to improve accuracy and find better ways in which to make machine translation a reality we find embedded and we take for granted in so many products. Pangeanic’s drive to create and develop innovative language solutions for its clients led us to create a new section called PangeaMT, which was the first one to use Moses in a commercial setting back in 2009 and served its clients with language automation. Nowadays, it seems that widespread adoption in the wake of solutions provided by non-industry giants like Google and Microsoft have created […]

Can You Trust Free Web Language Converters To Do The Job

A big question we get asked by consumers is why do we need a language translation service. If you go online, you’ll often find the search engine offers to translate the page for you. Google in particular offer what might seem like a brilliant translation service. The best news? It’s completely free, and you don’t even have to set it up. When a consumer or user views your site they’ll get the chance to translate it themselves. But that might not be the best idea if you want your site to be successful online and here’s why.   Lost In Translation First, you might think that a free search engine translator is doing a fantastic job, converting your site into any language. Well, for a free, automatic service it is. But you should understand that that piece of software will be converting your site at a basic level. While it […]

Break Through The Language Barriers In Your Business

Business owners overlook the importance of making sure that their company is ready for international trade. They don’t put the effort in to ensure that their business is appealing to people from all around the world. This is a big mistake and comes with several disadvantages that you will certainly want to avoid. Unexplored Demand By not making an effort to make your business open to an international community you will have unexplored demand. What this means is that your company might be doing great in the local market. But, there could be potential to repeat that success internationally. However, if you don’t cater to an international audience, you’ll never find out. A big part of that is making sure your company materials are being translated into different languages. It doesn’t take a lot to make a local business international. But without a translation service for your company, you could […]