It is unbelievable sometimes that for a population of 7.5 billion people in the world we have a whopping 7000 languages in all. That means that for every 1.5 million people there is one language. But of course this is not the right analogy. The world today is not so much classified based on the language that people speak but there is a marked demographics when you say that people of a particular area speak a particular type of language or a dialect.
People who speak English are a majority followed by people who speak other languages such as Chinese/Mandarin, japans, French, Italian, Spanish and Russian.
The first work ever to be translated: The first work ever to be translated and to perfection is known to be the bible and the translator is none other than Saint Jerome himself. The translation till date is been till date untouched largely because of the proficiency with which the work was done. The bible is also believed to be the single book to have been translated into more than 600 languages.
Every year on 30 th of August, International Translation Day is celebrated every year on the 30th of September. The day is incidentally chosen because it marks the feast day of Saint Jerome himself.
Did you know that almost everything in the world can be translated into Braille. Braille is a language used by the blind. Any foreign language in the world can be translated into Braille. This is possible only because of the hard work of Braille, an intelligent differently-abled child.
As a young boy, Braille after whom the language is eponymously named attended the royal institute for the Blind Youth. Those days in the institute, a new system was being devised as part of an experiment to tutor blind children without the usage of light or sound.
The idea was to have a code of six punched dots that could be punched into various patterns to form the alphabets, numbers and punctuation marks as well! each unit of letter or number is called a ‘cell’ in Braille. The fact that the holes of the cell are so punched that they are raised gives them the ease to read with their fingers!
Can you believe there is a database of translations that have ever been made?
The United Nations Educational Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) has the biggest database of the all the translations that have been undertaken till now. The database is so impressive that it encompasses great epics that were translated to even works by eminent authors. It is called the “Index Translational”. According to the above database, the three most translated authors are Shakespeare, Jules Verne and Agatha Christie.
There are roughly about 350,000 translators that are working across the globe across the various time zones. You are sitting there worried why there is so much fuss about the importance of a translator, consider this: there are more than two hundred and fifty thousand words in any given language and even in English and the average English speaking person’s vocabulary is only limited to a maximum of twenty thousand words. Therefore, it is important that we realize the hard work that is put by a professional translator. It is estimated that a translator who puts in one hour of his desk job translating any given work writes about 250 words. And one who is working relentlessly throughout his day or night shift is capable of churning out 520,000words per year – my god!
The effort that a translator puts in:
Translators world over opine that translating an author’s work into Spanish is by far the easiest thing to do with the minimum effort. English with its vast word count is by far the most taxing. This is also because English as a language has been continuously evolving and there are several versions of the language form the classical to the medieval to the modern. Do you want to know which are the languages that are most read by book lovers? Well, if you take a cross section of the survey results and compare the rate of translation against the languages from the millennium up to 2010, we infer that more than 80 percent of the world’s literature has been translated into either German or French a small ten percent has been translated in to Chinese/mandarin.