The oldest language spoken in the world remains a debate to date. To most people’s surprise, it is not English. Some historians believe it’s Sumerian, thanks to text found in modern-day Iraq, while others insist it is Egyptian with text found in Nigeria. While these texts date back to 3,500 BC, countless languages have developed worldwide, as listed below.
The English language stems from the British Empire and the United States. The two regions’ suitable geographic location and colonial dominance helped propel English into places where other languages could not prevail.
With the United Kingdom and the United States spearheading civilization, trading, and industrialization, English soon became associated with this modernism. Technology, religion, education, and other social advances were then spread within their colonies, with English used as the preferred language.
The extensive spread of the English language throughout the world after the abolishment of colonialization has been attributed to the relative ease of understanding its literary structures compared to other languages.
Although there are millions of people of Chinese descent and nationality, Chinese Mandarin ranks second because it isn’t as widespread as English. Mandarin officially started being used in mainland China about 800 years ago. It is believed to be the most complex language to learn, especially for English speakers, because of the different sets of characters associated with the language.
The economic dominance of the Chinese in the world has asserted the need for language translation services during meetings and other social interactions. Being a certified language translator has become a highly sought-after job among many Mandarin-speaking people as the demand is ever-growing.
Of the 23 Indian languages, Hindi is the most widespread dialect. It has recently been promoted by the Parliament of India to be taught compulsorily in schools. With over 600 million speakers of the language, most organizations have chosen to use translation services online to ensure they cater to all Hindi-speaking nationals.
In recent years, numerous efforts have been made to standardize the Hindi language making it more inclusive of all Indians. This will be a positive catalyst for the growth and spread of the language.
The Spanish language has a high demand for translation services as Spain is among the top three countries that trade with the United States. Unlike Mandarin and Hindi, Spanish is perceived as easier to learn for English speakers as it shares the English alphabet, and most words stem from Latin, as does English.
Spanish originated from Latin when the reconquest of Spain from Muslim rule was happening during the 13th Century. It precedes English in age as it has been around longer.
The French language is descendent from Latin and is reported to have come up in the 17th Century. It was widely used in Britain well before English was adopted, explaining why over 40% of English words have a French influence.
Many international organizations, such as the United Nations, prefer using French as one of their primary languages. Translation services, therefore, become necessary, and in most instances, automated speech recognition (ASR) and machine translation (MT) technology are employed for inclusivity.
Primary languages vary depending on your geographical location. When establishing an online presence for your business or organization, your target audience will greatly determine whether you need to acquire translation services for your website. Hiring language translators can also be a great way to assist in market penetration, as it eliminates language barriers and allows for business growth and localization.