English language

map of cameroon showing ngong language with 2 speakers

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 […]

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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 […]

Re: In Memoriam: Ching-yi Doughtery

Ching-yi Doughtery, a pioneer in English-Chinese machine translation application, has passed away at her home in Oakland on October 13. She was 96 and a key figure in Chinese Studies at the University of California at Santa Cruz. Mrs Dougherty was a founding fellow of Merrill College and one of its first Resident Preceptors. Her career at the University of California at Santa Cruz began in 1967. She was the first chair of the University’s interdisciplinary East Asian Studies committee. She also served as Chair of the Faculty at Merrill. Following a reorganization in 1979, she was a Cowell fellow before she retired in 1981. BIOGRAPHY Ching-yi was born in her native China in 1913 in the capital city, Beijing. She attended her undergraduate degree from the prestigious Yenching University, which was later incorporated into Peking University. Her father was one of China’s first western-educated dentists but still did not approve of Ching-yi attending a mixed college, and preferred that she attend an all-women teacher’s college. Ching-yi arranged her own […]

Canada Government launches Language Portal, free access to Termium terminology database

The Government of Canada has launched the Language Portal of Canada and free access to its Termium terminology database. Termium is available in English, French and Spanish, although most of the content is available only in former two languages. Provincial Secretary and Minister responsible for Francophone Affairs June Draude said: “Enhancing French-language services will not only benefit our French-speaking citizens here at home, but will extend a warm welcome to other French speakers from Canada and across the world.” The site has been designed to be a showcase for the French and English languages in Canada and also to promote the use of official languages in the country. The Language Portal features sections on dictionary resources, language use in Canada (official and other), language professions (from translation and interpretation to writing and editing), language usage tips, and a special section on “la Francophonie in Canada” and internationally. The site also […]