Differences between American English and British English?

Is English truly an easy language to translate into?

Where the British Empire did not quite reach, politics and media did, making English the third most commonly spoken language in the world today, preceded only by Chinese and Spanish, and ahead of Hindi-Urdu, Arabic, Bengali, Portuguese, Russian, Japanese and Punjabi in that order.

But how many of the approximately half a billion speakers of English know how to use the language effectively, to the highest level of terminological accuracy and syntactical fluidity required for reliable and professional translations ?

Our HR records show that 84% of native English speakers who applied to become translators in our company (and who already work in this field independently or for other companies) did not pass our entrance test. The majority of candidates received a failing score in syntax and specialist vocabulary. The causes may vary from inadequate schooling to translators coming from former British colonies where English was historically mixed with local tongues. Today these languages have commercial importance, for example “Hinglish” is a mix between English and Hindi spoken by the wealthy Indian bourgeoisie, a language that we are asked to translate into for certain technical manuals for consumer goods.

On the classic question of the relative benefits of translating your website into American or British English, we are usually talking about two different markets, requiring different methods of presentation and, consequently, even different phraseologies. We must not forget about the different English language cultures in Australia, Canada and New Zealand, which are all distinct markets. However, it is possible to create texts that respect the common values of all these cultures, for example avoiding words that are spelt differently depending on the variety of English in use. This is precisely what we have chosen to do with part of our own company website, adopting a globalized approach and entrusting localization to other forms of communication.

SMG Languages has resolved the problem of the scarcity of proficient native-speaking translators by employing only the very best candidates who have satisfied our selection requirements. Thanks to this selectivity, over the years we have built a business that is focused on professional ethics and high-quality language production.

Accurate translation for the English speaking public

English is our specialist language when it comes to technical, scientific and legal translation.
Technical and scientific translation: every day we translate hundreds of pages of text for the Science and Technology Sectors, covering the following topics: agricultural farming, medicine and other sciences, mechanical and electrical engineering, computer science, hydraulics, transport, telecommunications and machine tools, as well as multilingual manuals, catalogues for overseas, technical drawings, user guides, software programmes, labels for products and packaging, test records, clinical trials and pharmaceutical manuals.

We also handle the professional translation of official correspondence and legal translation of contracts, letters of attorney, patents, meeting minutes, budgets, financial statements, accounting reports, bills of sale, banking and insurance documents, which make up our linguistic consulting service for businesses.

Advertising and media translations: among the advantages of having a team of British and American native speakers within the company is the opportunity it gives us to work expertly on the cultural adjustment of texts, tuning them to the needs of the target audience. It also allows us to deal with specialist terminology using extensively experienced employees who, thanks to their training and professionalism, are committed to observing all security of information protocols.

Thanks to these quality-oriented prerequisites, we are able to take on English translations and localise them for British or American audiences or any other English-speaking audience using the many instruments of multimedia communication available, such as media catalogues, company videos in original language, websites, landing pages, Wikipedia profiles, specialist blogs, newsletters, banners and web campaigns. All of the aforementioned examples can be localized both in terms of their metadata and by optimizing the HTML or other language programming codes.

Professional English Interpreters

Seeing as English is the most requested language in Europe for interpreters, we have expanded our staff of simultaneous and consecutive professionals in order to satisfy the growing number of requests. On average, we currently manage one interpreting service per day, predominantly specialising in the design, politics, medicine, metalworking, electrical engineering, plumbing and transport industries sectors.

Free quote

Fill in the form below to get a quote from our offices. We are happy to respond to your request and will get back to you as quickly as possible.
All the fields marked with an asterisk are compulsory.

Maximum upload size: 67.11MB

The English language: History, Difficulties, Benefits and Facts regarding the English language

The official English language

The English language originated in England and is the national language of the UK and also Canada, Australia, the United States of America and New Zealand. Other countries whose official language is English are India, certain Caribbean islands, Singapore, Philippines and South Africa. English as a language has been developed over a period of 1,400 years, originating from the “Indo-European” family. The Indo-European language combines Anglo-Frisian, West Germanic, Anglic languages, Germanic and English. Early forms of English include:

  • Old English
  • Middle English
  • Early Modern English

Germanic is split into three categories: East, North and West.
East: Vandal, Burgundian and Gothic (extinct languages)
North: Norwegian, Danish, Icelandic, Swedish and Faroese
West: Dutch, Frisian, German and English

History of the English language

English is the most widely-used language in terms of number of speakers and the most common second language in the world and is either the only or one of the official languages used in almost 60 sovereign states. Modern English grammar was derived from the Indo-European language which then evolved to become the earliest known form of English, Anglo-Saxon, which is also known as Old English, documented from 550-1066 CE. Old English evolved into Middle English from the 8th to the 12th century, then further evolved between 1200 and 1450. The changes came about due to the colonization of the Northern British Isles, with the close contact with Old Norse and the Germanic language influencing linguistic development . Middle English then evolved to become Early Modern English, which involved a strong vowel shift. This vowel shift created irregularities due to the fact that the English language kept many spellings from Middle English but the pronunciation of the vowels changed, meaning learners have to memorize certain word pronunciations that do not follow the standard rules according to their spelling. An in-depth analysis shows a language shift from Indo-European to Germanic, then from Germanic to Old Frisian, and these three were created by the Celts and Romans. From these, Old English was created by the Angles/Saxons/Jutes and the Vikings. From Old English, Middle English was created by the Normans and the French. After Middle English came Early Modern English, where the great vowel shift occurred. English renaissance culture evolved during the time of Early Modern English and this was the language used for international trade. Late Modern English followed Early Modern English, with slight improvements and additions to the vocabulary of the English language; this was the time of the Industrial Revolution and Colonialism. And with the advent of modern technology and the heavy use of slang, Modern English was created and is still being used today.

English Language and some difficulties in the language

In the English language, there are at least seven major word classes: nouns, adverbs, conjunctions, adjectives, verbs, prepositions and determiners. It has been determined that over 2 billion people worldwide use the English language in international communication, with the English language being the most used second language, making it an important tool in global business. English is the third most common native language after Chinese and Spanish. The English language evolves continuously.to the extent that there is a new word added to the dictionary once every 2 hours, for a total of approximately 4,000 words a year. The famous playwright William Shakespeare added 1,000 words to the English language in the 16th century and has strongly influenced the English language through his poetry and plays. The English alphabet was taken from the Latin alphabet and the Latin alphabet originated from the Etruscan alphabet. The reason why the English language is very widespread across the globe is due to the fact that the British Empire colonized and controlled vast areas of land across Europe, Africa, the West Indies and Northern America. The English language is not as complex as some other languages and this has the advantage of allowing many people around the world to communicate effectively in English. The English language has been influenced heavily by many different languages, such as Italian with words like crescendo, cantabile, corridoio, allegro, stanza, obbligato, legato, etc. and Spanish with words such as mosquito, sigaro, guerilla, patata, tomate, tornado, etc. The English language includes influences from Welsh, Hindi, Persian, Irish, Russian, Turkish, Arabic, Chinese, Malay, Japanese, Portuguese and several other languages. The classical Latin alphabet consisted of 23 letters, 21 of which were derived from the Etruscan alphabet. In medieval times the letter I was differentiated into I and J and V into U, V, and W, producing an alphabet equivalent to that of Modern English with 26 letters. There are several difficulties in the English language, one of these difficulties is using words that have more than one meaning. Many words used in the English language have multiple meanings and can be frustrating for new learners to grasp, as memorizing different definitions for the same word is not easy. Beginners can be confused when a word they think they know is then used in a different context. Learners can overcome this issue by listening to the sentence, paying attention to the context and working out what the word means accordingly. An example of this could be: “In Autumn the trees lose most of their leaves” as compared to “My friend always leaves the house door unlocked”. Another difficulty faced by non-English speakers when trying to learn the language is that words that are not pronounced the way they are written. For example, the word “knife”, which is not pronounced as it is written but is pronounced “nife” because the “k” is silent. Enrolling on an English course and seeking professional help can improve pronunciation and language skills in general. Searching online for the words that have more than one pronunciation and using online tools such as videos and applications to learn to pronounce the words correctly can be of help to beginners. The English language has a vast number of words and continues to expand today; what makes this language even harder is that it has different roots. The language was derived from Latin and Old English, which means words can have different spellings and there are many synonyms that can catch beginners by surprise. To add complexity to an already complex language, many native speakers use slang and idioms that can be hard to interpret correctly. There are many idioms used in everyday English, such as “Break a leg!”, which is an expression to wish someone luck, “kick the bucket” meaning to die and “spill the beans”, which means to tell a secret. Another issue beginners face when learning English is the variety of sub-categories of the language: English is the official language of Australia, the United Kingdom, Canada, South Africa, New Zealand, USA and the dialects and vocabulary can differ widely from one country to the next. In the United Kingdom the English spoken in England, Scotland, Wales and Ireland are very different, with dialects as varied as ‘Scouse’, ‘Geordie’ and ‘Brummie’ in England alone. Understanding different accents can be very difficult for non-native speakers. In the United States alone, there are 24 different dialects and whilst many are similar, some are very different and certain accents can make understanding more difficult.

Benefits of the English language

A global language is a language used on an international level, which many people from different countries across the world are capable of speaking and understanding. Global languages enable many people from different backgrounds and ethnicities to communicate for many different reasons, including networking, building relationships and trading. English is a global language with a reach far greater than any other language, especially in Academia, Business, Education, Entertainment, Politics, Transportation, Science and Information Technology. The United Nations is an international intergovernmental organization, and probably the closest organization today to a global community; it currently uses 6 official languages, including English, and it has been estimated that around 85% of international organizations use English as their official language. English is a very important language, especially if you enjoy watching movies, listening to music and reading books as it is the language of the media industry. Speaking English can be a great advantage when travelling, as most street signs are translated into English and many foreigners speak a bit of English; travel is also easier because most airplane announcements and emergency information are translated into English for foreigners. There is a greater chance of employment for people who know English, primarily because many businesses are expanding internationally, so having a second language, especially English, is a great advantage. At interview for a job with a large multinational, proficiency in English is essential, as many international companies look for English speakers that can communicate with suppliers, customers and other companies across the globe. Learning English grants access to some of the world’s top universities, where most of the courses are taught in English and fluency in the language is a necessity; if English is not the first language, applicants are required to pass an English proficiency test as part of the admissions procedure.

Below are some interesting information/facts about the English language

  • The letter “e” forms 11 percent of the English language and it is thought to be one of the happiest languages used on earth as the word ‘happy’ is used 3 times more than the word ‘sad’.
  • The longest word in the English dictionary is “pneumonoultramicroscopicsilicovolcanokoniosis”, which is the scientific name for a lung disease caused by inhaling dirt and ash.
  • A pangram is a sentence that contains all the English letters in a single sentence, such as “The quick brown fox jumps over the lazy dog”.
  • A palindrome is a phrase or word in English that can be read from left to right or right to left, such as “racecar”. An ambigram is a similar idea, but instead is a word that reads the same upside down, such as the word “SWIMS”
  • The shortest, most commonly used and oldest word in the English language is the word “I”.
  • The letter “e” is the most used letter in the English language and the letter “q” is the least used, being 56 times less popular than the letter “e”.
  • English is the language used by pilots regardless of the pilot’s native language or where the airport is or the airline is based; English is used by pilots to communicate while flying and to identify themselves. Captains of ships must also use English, as it is the official language for aeronautical and maritime communication.
  • More than 80% of data stored on computers over the world are in English.
  • The sentence ‘He believed Caesar could see people seizing the seas’ is a special sentence that includes seven different ways of spelling the “ee” sound.
  • The word “pronunciation” is the most mispronounced word in English.
  • The first official dictionary in English was written in 1755 by Samuel Johnson.
  • China is home to more English speakers than the whole of the United States.
  • The small dot placed on the top of the letter “i” is called a tittle.
  • The name “juke box” derives from the Old English word “juke” meaning to dance.
  • “Poecilonym” is a synonym for the word “synonym”.
  • The word “scan” originally meant to study something carefully.
  • The term for a fear of long words is “hippopotomonstrosesquippedaliophobia”.