Why is English the most widely translated language?

Published on 16/03/2021

With the rise of the powerful British Empire and its former colonies beginning in the 18th century, English became the first language of international communication. The United States of America has been a political and economic leader throughout the 20th century.

Although it is one of the official languages of more than 50 countries in the world, the influence of English goes further, since it is at the head of the most important international institutions, such as the United Nations or the European Union.

Is English easier to translate than other languages?

English is easier to translate than other languages

The simplicity of English for Westerners who master the Latin alphabet is not alien, this is how the success of English as the language of translation par excellence, both as a source language and as a target language.

These are some of the linguistic aspects that make English be an easy language to learn and translate for some international speakers:

  • Absence of accents in the alphabet
  • Very simple conjugations with few exceptions to the rules
  • There is no grammatical gender, they are all "neuter"
  • Absence of cases to decline except the possessive (genitive)
  • Vocabulary generally easy to integrate (English words integrated into Spanish, for example), few false friends

Reference language for translation

Reference language for translation

English is a language that has greatly influenced others, so many English words have been integrated into other languages and therefore do not need to be translated.

This is the case for many terms in the fields of finance, computer science, and medicine. Just as Latin was the language of science until the seventeenth century, English took over and has become the language of unanimity today.

Therefore, it is logical that the need to translations to and from English It is common, even in exchanges between third countries, that they do not have an official or cultural link with it.

English is the most widely translated language on the Internet

English is the most widely translated language on the Internet

There are 186 million people represent the on the Internet, which makes it the most widely used language on the web, even ahead of Chinese. As the supremacy of English is well established, few international websites do not have an English version.

English is also the language used as the basis for the development of online translation tools, such as Google Translate.. Thus, translations from or to English are usually of much better quality than between two third languages.

English is also an important part of the workload of translation agencies, since the vast majority of professional translators have a good knowledge of English.

The weight of publications translated from English

The weight of publications translated from English

The most prestigious scientific publications are all written or translated into English, and more and more often self-translated by the authors themselves.

According the C. Tardy’s article: The role of English in scientific communication: Lingua franca or Tyrannosaurus Rex? 79% of all the most influential scientific journals, to at least one hundredth, are in English and the first publication that does not come from the United States or the United Kingdom is only ranked 38th.

Neglect English in your translations it is simply depriving yourself of first-rate readers in the scientific, economic and political fields.

The translation agency AbroadLink Translations can help you develop a translation strategy that uses the full potential of English to support your success.

All this at a much more affordable cost than if you resorted to English or American translation companies.

Virginia Pacheco's picture
Virginia Pacheco

Blog writer and Community Manager interested in multiculturality and linguistic diversity. From her native Venuzuela, she has travelled and lived for many years in France, Germany, Cameroon and Spain, passing on her passion for writing and her intercultural experiences.

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