the English language is always evolving; it is a fluid and organic structure that grows and changes when the available language is inadequate to communicate in our ever-changing world.
The Speed of Evolution
The speed of language evolution is not constant. Current events, scientific discoveries or even new technologies can inspire dozens of new phrases or themes at once. Minor or local happenings can affect regional dialects or neighboring languages can even infiltrate the a language.
Try Ordering Porotos in MexicoAs language changes over time or at a distance, it sometimes gets to the point that speakers of the same language will lose their shared meaning for a particular word. Try ordering “porotos” in Mexico and you will get a blank and confused look. Porotos is the word for beans in many South American Spanish speaking countries, but most Mexicans have no clue what it means.
Language Richness & Complexity
Language is rich and complex, filled with multilayered meaning and nuance, with regional variations, ever-evolving styles and meanings, all held within a particular cultural patchwork. This is exactly the challenge that professional language translators face, because they must not only understand the words in the source language, but the nuances and the meaning and then express it in another entirely new language and, often, in different cultural context.
Computer Translations Fail at Nuanced Language
Language complexity and variability is the main reason why computer translation has been such a challenge for computer engineers. Despite the power of supercomputers, our efforts at computer translation still only yield gross approximations.
Some believe that language is and always will be an approximation. Even the simplest idea cannot be expressed exactly the way it is experienced by the thinker. If there are an infinite number of possible combinations of thoughts and feelings, it seems unlikely that we can express ourselves verbally with 100% accuracy and authenticity. So even a human translation is necessarily an approximation.
When it comes to a computer versus a professional human translation, I would still put my money on the human translator.
And Language Shapes Thought
Language also changes as our thoughts change. It is a catalyst to our growing power to reason and develop even more complex ideas. Language helps us evolve and change the way we think. In one interesting example, when we learn new words for colors, we are able to better distinguish differences between colors, as described in an article by Lera Boroditsky in Scientific American called “How Language Shapes Thought.” This theory proposes that language rides alongside in a symbiotic relationship with our minds.
To effectively translate an idea into language is something we learn to do as children and practice every day of our waking lives. Hopefully, by the time we grown up we are able to translate multi-dimensional ideas and operate effectively doing so. We acquire new syntax, slang, allegory, cultural reference and tone to help us describe advanced thoughts.
The Challenge Faced by Translators
In this respect, translators face an even greater challenge, because they must keep to date on two entirely different languages and cultures. They also must maintain stay up-to-date with changes in their fields of expertise.
At LanguageTran we can advise you on how to effectively use computer translations to reduce your cost while using the experience of our professional translators.