10 Amazing Facts about Translation and Languages


As the worldwide translation industry gears up to celebrate International Translation Day on September 30th, this is a great time to explore some unique facts about translation and languages. To start, here is a bit of history about the day that honors the work of translators. The reason that International Translation Day is celebrated on September 30th is that the date corresponds with the Feast of St. Jerome, who was one of the original translators of The Holy Bible. He translated the Greek text of the New Testament into Latin, as well as some of the Hebrew text into Greek. As the patron saint of translators, St. Jerome represents an industry that brings people together and fosters communication across the globe.

Now, take a look at 10 of the most amazing facts about the world of translation and languages.

  1. The translation profession began more than 2,000 years ago. Starting with the Old Testament being translated into Greek in the middle of the third century BC, the translation industry has grown extensively through the years. With the industry expected to reach $26.2 billion by the end of this year, it has clearly come a long way since that first translation.
  2. Translation has played a key role in the dissemination of scientific information. As an example, an eighteenth-century physicist, Gabrielle-Émilie Le Tonnelier de Breteuil, marquise du Châtelet, first translated Isaac Newton’s law of universal gravitation into French.
  3. The six languages that are the most difficult for English speakers to learn are Mandarin Chinese, Arabic, Polish, Russian, Turkish, and Danish. Interestingly, Mandarin is also the most commonly used language worldwide; however, its tonal nature makes it exceptionally nuanced, and there is a large number of characters to memorize. Because of some of the difficulties, it is especially important to contract with a professional translation company to work on translation projects that involve these languages.
  4. The top three most translated authors worldwide are Agatha Christie, Jules Verne, and William Shakespeare, according to the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO). Professional translation services play a tremendous role in helping authors reach international markets.
  5. This might not come as a surprise, but The Holy Bible is considered the most translated text of all time, with parts of it being translated into 3,384 languages. The original Hebrew, Aramaic, and Greek writings contain approximately 611,000 words.
  6. When people think of the most translated content, they likely are thinking about books; however, it turns out that songs can also be widely translated. The song “Golden Dreams of Gandhiji” was recorded in 125 languages by Indian artist Dr. Kesiraju Srinivas.
  7. Perhaps a little known fact about translators is that they have been responsible for creating some alphabets. For instance, James Evans invented Cree syllabics, which are used to write the most widely spoken Indigenous language in Canada. Additionally, the Cyrillic alphabet, used today to write Serbian, Bulgarian, and Russian, along with several other languages, emerged from the work of Saints Cyril and Methodius.
  8. People might not think of languages as endangered, but approximately 40% of the world’s languages fall into that category; some of those languages have fewer than 1,000 people still using them.
  9. Even though there are 7,139 languages in the world, more than half of the world’s population speak only 23 languages. A certified translation services provider should be able to provide assistance with almost any language pair, whether they are endangered or more widely used.
  10. There is no official language of the United States. Although English is the most commonly spoken one in the country, it is not listed as official. After English, Spanish is the second most spoken language in the U.S.

If you have been pondering working on a translation project, then International Translation Day is the perfect day to launch it. Partner with a professional translation services company to get started.


As the worldwide translation industry gears up to celebrate International Translation Day on September 30th, it is a great time to explore some of the unique aspects of languages and the translation industry. Take a look at some of the 10 most amazing facts about the world of translation and languages.

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