June 1

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5 Easiest Foreign Languages to Translate to English


Translating a language to another involves conveying the same information from the source language to a target language in a manner that the targeted party will receive the information without a barrier. It could be verbal, written, or an audio transcription. Some factors influence the process of translating a language. They include:

 Linguistic factors: These are linked to the phonological, lexical, syntactic, and textual aspects of both languages.

 Cultural factors- Cultural factors primarily involve the contexts under which the language is used. This is very key as it may result in significant errors once the context of both languages is not factored in. The source culture must factor in the target culture to avoid unnecessary errors during the process.

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 Personal/ individual factors- personal factors may affect the translator and the target audience. They include competency in both languages, attitudes and formed biases.

For transcription or translation to be successful, there must be cohesion in the three factors, as the main aim is to bridge the gap between the two languages. The similarity in linguistic aspects contributes to the mutual intelligibility of languages. Mutual intelligibility is the ability to understand another language without any prior knowledge.

English is a Germanic language making it linguistically related to German, Dutch, Icelandic, and Scandinavian languages. They did diverge a while ago, so understandably mutual intelligibility is no longer on the table. Therefore, it is more straightforward to translate Germanic languages to English than languages of Asiatic or African origin. From a syntactic point of view, English is part of the Germanic family of languages, so the English language structure may be familiar to speakers of languages such as German, Dutch, the Scandinavian family of languages, etc.

  1. Frisian
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The Frisian languages are closely related to the West Germanic languages and are spoken by less than a million people, with the West Frisian being the most spoken. The two languages, English and Frisian, may not be mutually intelligible due to the constant evolution but share many basic rules. Frisian and English share syntax, and most words are cognate.

  1. Scots

This language almost entirely borrows from English and is widely spoken in Scotland. Scots diverged from standard English and has features that set it distinctively apart. However, it is more of an English dialect than it is a different language. It borrows several English grammars, such as the subject-verb-object sentence structure. A few other features include variations of spellings, slight vowel shifts and slightly `different word forms. It is features like this that make it very easy to translate.

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It’s worth mentioning that 98% of Scots speakers actually speak a dialect of Modern English with some vocabulary and grammar from Scots. Only 2% speak “pure” Scots, which is not mutually intelligible with English.

  1. Dutch or Flemish

English and Dutch are both West Germanic languages and are not radically different. The Dutch language borrows from the English sentence structure and borrows words like hallo or Welkom. Many English words keep the exact spelling and pronunciation when translated to Dutch. Dutch and English are mutually intelligible. It is these similarities that make it very easy to interpret in English. Did you know that the Dutch speak more English than the language Dutch?

  1. German
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Again, German is part of the West Germanic languages and borrows extensively from English. Therefore, it is pretty easy to interpret in English because most German and English words are cognate.

  1. Romance Languages

These are the likes of Latin, French, Spanish, Italian, Portuguese and Romanian. The English language borrows part of its vocabulary from these languages. It said that English borrows approximately 150,000 words, the Greek language included.

Translation services and transcription services are no longer hard to come by given the advancements in interpreting software, such as the Greek to English translation service, without breaking sweat.

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