When paired with English, some languages are more difficult to translate than others, and this is mainly due to the differing ways in which people express themselves and the way in which the rules of grammar vary from country to country. In some instances, such as German to English translation, the process is relatively straightforward, since they belong to the same language family. Translating between two different language families, however, always complicates things.
Below are some of the trickier languages to translate:
In the Chinese language, the majority of words have different meanings according to the tone in which they’re pronounced, making it tricky to translate onto paper since tones are auditory-based. Without a clear understanding of the context in which a word has been written, a translation will never be accurate. It’s important to note that some Chinese words also have more than one meaning in English, making an accurate translation even harder.
There are many nuances between the three Japanese writing systems, and a translator must be able to recognize and interpret them in order to produce a sound translation. The way sentences are structured in Japanese is also very different to that of English, and for an accurate translation, sentences must be broken down into sections and reorganised when translated into another language.
While the lettering and pronunciation of Finnish are very similar to English, the grammar is very complicated. As such, most modern Finns tend to speak a more colloquial form of the language differs significantly to that of the written form. For any kind of document translation services, this presents a whole host of problems.
With Thai letters never separated by spaces when in a sentence, anyone translating from Thai to another language, must be able to differentiate between the different words and understand their context clearly. As with the Chinese language, Thai is also a tonal language.
With a complicated grammar system that has no less than 35 different cases, not to mention strange rules for tense and possession, Hungarian is just as difficult as Finnish to accurately translate, and without a human’s input, would simply never be translated to a high enough standard.
The written form of Arabic is extremely complex, and in general, Arabic letters are written in four different ways according to their placement in a word. As if that wasn’t tricky enough, vowels aren’t written in Arabic text, making accurate translation virtually impossible for anyone who isn’t fluent in the language. Dialect rich, too, Arabic is spoken in different ways depending on the region or social group it’s being used in.
As a language with no known ancestral relationship to any other language in the world, it is known as an ‘isolate language’, and while some aspects may be similar to other languages, there is generally no way to consistently compare it with any other. As you can imagine, a machine translator would struggle to translate anything from Korean into English.
Translating accurately between two languages take more than fluency, and with so many nuances present in so many languages, translators must have a sound understanding of the words written, before they’re able to produce an accurate translation with no grammatical errors. As you can see, machine translators would never be able to do the job well enough when dealing with any of the seven languages above, and even for less complex languages, a human translator is essential for the best results.