People from around the world speak in different languages and accents

How Accents and Dialects Can Affect Interpretation and Translation

Nearly 6,500 languages are being spoken worldwide. From these 6,500 languages emerge thousands of dialects, and each dialect has its very own accent. The branches of the language tree are forever growing with our increasing population.

Although different accents and dialects are fascinating to hear, they can be quite troubling for interpreters. An interpreter’s job requires them to translate spoken or written languages as accurately as possible. So, when you hire language translation services, it’s crucial to be well informed about dialects and accents and the effect they have on your translation.

What Is a Dialect?  

One may consider language a blanket term for various dialects. The technical meaning of a dialect is a variety of languages within a region that can be distinguished by grammar, pronunciation and even vocabulary.

Although they all constitute a similar language, historical and geographical differences have made them quite distinguishable. For instance, Arabic is one of the most commonly spoken languages in the world. However, Arabic has around 30 different dialects.

We don’t have to travel too far to see examples of different dialects. English has well over 160 different dialects. Twenty-three of these different dialects are spoken in the US!

What Is an Accent?

While dialects can show a difference in grammar and vocabulary, accents are only distinguished by a difference in pronunciation. There are two different categories of accents.

A foreign accent is when you speak a different language using the rules and sounds of your native language. The distinct pronunciation may make your pronunciation sound wrong or stand out amongst locals of the foreign language. This is different from a regional accent.

We tend to speak with a certain way of pronouncing words within our social circles. However, when we hear people from a different region than ours, their accent tends to sound much different. For instance, someone from Texas would say much different whilst speaking English than someone from Florida!

Why Does It Matter?

Why do dialects and accents matter to interpreters

You might be wondering why a slight difference in vocabulary or accent would matter to a translator? After all, it is the same language! While that may be true, interpreters and translators need to distinguish between different accents and dialects.

Whether you’re availing language translation services for translating a book or an important legal document, it’s important to address the language correctly. Different dialects may use words in a different context to each other. If your interpreter is made aware of the preferred dialect, your translation would be more accurate.

Similarly, if you’re opting for telephone interpreter services, informing your translator of the most common accents they might encounter would help them communicate more efficiently. While on the job, your translator cannot look up meanings or pronunciations as it may be disruptive, so giving them all the information beforehand is key to a smooth conversation.

If you would like to hire expert interpreters with a vast knowledge of different regional dialects and accents, check us out at Crest Language Services. Our team of professional translators can help you with onsite, video, phone and document translations! Contact us today to learn more about our services.

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