online language translation

Online language translation services and their role

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(Last Updated On: December 27, 2017)

Online language translation services have to take into account differences between languages and cultures before doing translation.

Various studies have shown over time that our native language influences the way we think, the way we perceive time and space and even the way we communicate to and about other people.

The role of online language translation services

This gives a whole new meaning to the saying that time is relative. The way we talk is a crucial element that defines how we perceive the passage of time.

Here are some of the most compelling examples:

  • Compared to English speakers, Greek speakers consider length of time as big or small and not long or short;
  • Compared to English speakers, Mandarin speakers perceive time as being above and below and not before and behind because they do not see time as being linear;
  • Compared to English speakers, Arab speakers see time passing from right to left, just like their writing does.

One of the most interesting discussions about the matter is the one started by the economist Keith Chen. He wonders whether our perception of time affects our ability to save for the future. Any translator should take such differences into account when providing online language translation services.

While “futured languages,” like English, distinguish between the past, present and future, “futureless languages,” like Chinese, use the same phrasing to describe the events of yesterday, today and tomorrow. Using vast inventories of data and meticulous analysis, Chen found that huge economic differences accompany this linguistic discrepancy. Futureless language speakers are 30 percent more likely to report having saved in any given year than futured language speakers.

This result is astonishing, no wonder it takes special skills and extensive knowledge of a language to be able to translate from and into it. Translators have to be able to understand all factors of the foreign culture in order to perform quality online language translation services.

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