The multiplication of the Tower of Babel.
Those who are not professionally involved in translation can try to guess which are the 10 most spoken languages in the world (only 5 are European).
However, no one can state with reasonable certainty how many languages exist and are used on our planet today: UNESCO data estimate between 6,000 and 7,000.
At interlanguage, we have first-hand, everyday insight into linguistic variety and complexity. Although we live in an increasingly globalised world, the heterogeneous richness of our linguistic heritage is far from homogenised.
Even when only considering the 10 most spoken languages (А вы могли бы подумать, что я на девятом месте?) [Would you have guessed that I, Russian, am in ninth place?], there is clearly considerable variety and complexity. [Avresti mai detto che io, il russo, sono in nona posizione?]
Just think – to give a non-technical example – of the differences between British English and American English. Or of the potential misunderstandings between the standard form of Spanish, Castilian, and South American Spanish dialects, or between the different nuances of the ‘same’ German in Germany, Austria or Switzerland, or of the subtleties that distinguish the speech of a Portuguese from that of a Brazilian.
Not to mention Arabic, which is one language, but is spoken in numerous countries, from Indonesia to Africa via Pakistan and the Middle East: it is the official language in more than 20 nations. Incidentally, Arabic is also the most popular language on social media: 55% of users on Facebook write in Arabic (more than in English).
Although many of the more than 6,000 languages estimated by UNESCO are only used in remote places or as second languages, it would be incorrect to assume that each state actually corresponds to a single language.
Not least because there is concrete demonstration of plurilingualism right next door to Italy.
One of the countries bordering Italy has three official languages and four national languages. Here at interlanguage, we have been dealing with translations for this country, Switzerland, for more than 20 years, since 1995.
Languages change, grow, intermingle and become specialised.
In every business sector (from pharma to food, ceramics and legal), each language develops technicalities, customs and nuances, which, within each sector, become codes of communication that are necessary to correctly convey information.
Another daily challenge for all contemporary translators is that of different alphabets (Latin, Greek, Cyrillic, Arabic, Chinese, Japanese, etc.). Since interlanguage also offers full multilingual graphic layout services, the company has to deal with very specific issues, such as how to start a new paragraph in Polish, the space requirements for a caption in Mandarin Chinese and the length of a drug information leaflet printed in Cyrillic.
After all, all companies are increasingly globalised. It is not uncommon for a multinational company to have to communicate in 15-20 languages if it wants to reach all markets and all its workforce.
For interlanguage, working in recent years for certain outstanding Made in Italy companies, including in the ceramics or food sectors, has meant genuinely supporting them in their challenges on new markets: requests for translation into Hindi, Thai and Vietnamese have become a current necessity.
Our team of native-speaker translators, currently spread over 4 different continents, is always supported by reliable in-house language support. After all, it is only through knowledge of the language, the industry and a deep understanding of the customer that all their needs can be effectively and correctly translated.
Writers make national literature, while translators make universal literature.