How Has The Evolution of Languages Affected Translations? | AT

How Has The Evolution of Languages Affected Translations?

In the past, communicating with people who speak different languages was a difficult task. For example, early European settlers encountered difficulties when trying to do business with natives in the Americas and Asia. Whilst in recent years, globalisation has changed the way we connect with others, there is still an issue with communication in business.


Fortunately, a translation company like Absolute Translations can offer a solution for modern businesses. With a team of professional translators living and working around the world, our linguists are not only fluent in the target language but understand the culture; one of the earliest problems faced by European explorers in the 1400s.


When pioneers such as Marco Polo; James Cook and Sir Francis Drake set off to discover North America and Asia, they struggled with the differences in dialects and accents as well as gestures. Often they didn’t understand the language and the culture of the natives. So instead the Europeans used mime and sign languages to communicate.


However, it soon became apparent sign language isn’t universal. There are significant differences in the way gestures are used by cultures which could have been misconstrued, landing the explorers in trouble. For example, when they arrived in Japan, pioneers were welcomed by hosts waving their hands towards them in a “shooing” motion. In the west, this could be confused with telling people to go away. As such, the early European explorers would have to find another way to communicate with natives. Thus, the evolution of language began.


As they settled in Jamestown, Virginia, European migrants started to incorporate their languages into the trade languages. Single words were used to communicate and any unnecessary words were avoided to prevent confusion, showing the first examples of pidgin languages.


While pidgin languages helped foreigners to communicate the basics, the formulation of creole languages helped translation to involve. Creole languages are a hybrid of two different mother tongues to form one consistent language. As a result of European discovery, over 150 creole languages were created from the 1500’s including Gullah, Papiamentu and Sranan. They helped to find common ground between settlers and natives until it became the dominant language.


When it comes to the Far East, intermediary language systems were used by European explorers to communicate with Asian natives. By the time Italian explorers, Matteo Ricci and Marco Polo arrived in Asia; the languages of the region had been heavily influenced by the Mongolian and Turkish era. With the richness of various language translation systems throughout Asia, trade was made easier to take place amicably and improve relations between countries.

In 2019, you may not experience the same time delays as early explorers when overcoming language barriers. However, if your business intends to deal with consumers or partners overseas, you will need the help of experienced translators to avoid any potential setbacks.


At Absolute Translations, we provide reliable, high-quality translation services for businesses across the globe. We are proud to be pioneers in the translation industry, receiving the latest ISO 17100:2015 certification; one of the first companies in the UK to do so!


For more information about our certified translation services, get in touch with our team on 0333 577 0767.