Monday, June 22, 2015

[Feature] Language, Conjectures and Inflections

I do not own this image. Found it on Google.

As a voracious reader, the idea of being able to read different books in different languages while understanding all the inflections, conjectures and implications in between the written words is probably the ultimate dream! If it was up to me, I’d give myself the superpower to be fluent in all of the languages around the world. It doesn’t even have to be in spoken language. Think of all the literature I would be able to read!

Thanks to the efforts of linguists and translators, language barriers in literature have been reduced to inexistence. Books of famous authors are easily translated, reproduced and distributed in different languages for the consumption of the reading public. This is something that’s really benefitted me, because if it isn’t obvious enough, reading is a huge part of my life.

The most important part of translation, in my opinion, is to convey the emotion. It’s more important to preserve what the author wants to convey, rather than to stick rigidly to word for word translation. As Maya Angelou said, “I've learned that people will forget what you said, people will forget what you did, but people will never forget how you made them feel.” I find this statement true because no matter how many books I’ve read, I’ll always remember the ones which evoke the most emotions in me.

With the advent of technology, texts and documents can be translated from one language to another with the click of a mouse. Easy-peasy, and with very little to no effort at all, since translation softwares do all the work and at very incredible speeds. I see this in a positive light because people who speak minor languages are given the power to voice out opinions and be read by a wider audience through the world wide web – all in just a few clicks! This is where translation softwares such as Smartling comes in! What's even amazing is that Smartling isn't only for translating documents. It can also be used to to support website translation, a tool for app localization, or a translation management system for business documents and other enterprise translation projects.

Personally, English isn’t my first language. It’s my third or fourth. My primary language is Karay-a, which is a language spoken by only a fraction of the population in the Philippines. My second language is Tagalog, which is the national language in the Philippines. I was told that by six or seven years old and despite not having any formal education in speaking Tagalog, I was already fluent in it. This was largely thanks to local children’s shows on TV which dominated my attention and time at that age. I also speak Hiligaynon, which is a regional language here in the Philippines. And then of course, there’s English, which is the medium of instruction in schools and universities.

I’d like to think that it’s not that obvious that I’m not a native English speaker, but that’s just me.

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