Perpetual Change in Languages—A Challenge for Translators

All languages are in perpetual motion and continually go through some kind of change. Words become obsolete and new words or phrases replace them. At times the context in which a word is used changes completely, giving the words an entirely new meaning. If we take the example of English, not only have words become obsolete or their meanings changed, but the English language also has gone through some major structural changes. For instance, the conventions of word order have been unstable in English. Not only that, but the spellings and pronunciation of words have changed.

Because every language undergoes changes from time to time, professional language translators need to keep themselves updated about this gradual shift in the use of both the source language and the target language. This is a constant challenge which a translator faces. If we look into the history of the English language, for example, we would realize that the English used in the age of Geoffrey Chaucer has  little similarity with the present-day English. Trends also keep changing, and instead of using flowery words in writing, people prefer to use simple, matter-of-fact expression. The same is true for all languages. No language stays the same forever.

We talked to a Japanese translator working for Miami translation services of The Marketing Analysts Translation Services company. He stated some of the reasons for language transformation. Languages change according to the needs of their speakers and adapt themselves to suit the changing times. As linguists say, all languages change all the time. The languages that remain static for a specific time period no longer exist. The present requires languages to be simple. Instead of beating around the bush, people just write or speak what they have in mind, since no one has the time to figure out the underlying meaning of a complex piece of writing.

Technological advances and fast means of communication have greatly influenced languages. Today people have little time to read and understand a document, a book or a journal. They also want others to be direct in their speech as well as their writing. This is one of the reasons why American English has taken precedence over British English. While translating, translators need to satisfy their clients without damaging the essence of the document they are translating.

It is not easy to be a translator. Translators need to be aware of the changing trends in language while using an appropriate level of expression in their translations. All certified document translations require formal, standard expression without wavering from the original subject matter. To become a professional translator, awareness of the perpetual change in languages is very important.