Facts and Figures About the Italian Language

italianWhen in Italy you are probably under the impression that everyone is speaking Italian, huh well not really 🙁 In fact people in Italy speak several different languages in Italy, as well as a number of dialects. So if you have questions like:

  1. Where is Italian spoken?
  2. How many Italian speakers are there?
  3. What other languages are spoken in Italy?
  4. What are the major dialects of Italian?

The three things that Italians have of their own, in most regions of Italy have, is their own accent, dialect, and sometimes their own language. The various languages and dialects spoken in Italy evolved over centuries and persisted separate from standard Italian for a variety of reasons. Here are some data relating to the Italian language.

How Many Italian Speakers Are There?

Italian is classified as an Indo-European language. According to Ethnologue: Languages of Italy there are 55,000,000 speakers of Italian in Italy. The speakers include those who are bilingual in Italian and regional diversities as well as those for whom Italian is a second language. There are another 6,500,000 speakers of Italian in other countries.

Where is Italian Spoken?

Besides Italy, Italian is spoken in 29 other countries:

    • Argentina
    • Australia
    • Belgium
    • Bosnia and Herzegovina
    • Brazil
    • Canada
    • Croatia
    • Egypt
    • Eritrea
    • France
    • Germany
    • Israel
    • Libya
    • Liechtenstein
    • Luxembourg
    • Paraguay
    • Philippines
    • Puerto Rico
    • Romania
    • San Marino
    • Saudi Arabia
    • Slovenia
    • Switzerland
    • Tunisia
    • United Arab Emirates
    • United Kingdom
    • Uruguay
    • USA
    • Vatican State.

Italian is also recognized as an official language in Croatia, San Marino, Slovenia, and Switzerland.

What Are the Major Dialects of Italian?

There are dialects of Italian and there are dialects of Italy. The major dialects of Italian include:

    • Toscano
    • Abruzzese
    • Pugliese
    • Umbro
    • Laziale
    • marchigiano central
    • cicolano-reatino-aquilano
    • andmolisano

What Other Languages Are Spoken in Italy?
There are several distinct local languages in Italy, including:

    • emiliano-romagnolo
    • friulano (alternate names include furlan, frioulan, frioulian,priulian)
    • ligure (lìguru)
    • Lombardo
    • napoletano(nnapulitano)
    • piemontese (piemontéis)
    • sardarese (a language of Central Sardinian also known as sard or logudorese)
    • sardu (a language of Southern Sardinian also known ascampidanese or campidese) siciliano

They Don’t Speak Only Italian in Italy?

learn-italian-languageNow, in the modern times, it is quite easy to speak Italian. Standard Italian is quite easy to speak just think back to when Italy was unified: 1861! Until then, what we now call Italy was just lots of different states, and each one had their own language or dialect. For several reasons like its literary prestige, amongst others, the Tuscan/Florentine dialect was taken as the language of modern Italy, but its standardization was slow. Until 20th century, Italian wasn’t widespread and spoken by everyone in Italy but today it has around 60 million people. Italian was a late adaption, some dialects survived despite being spoken only in small and remote regions. Here’s a list of the most common regional languages and dialects you’ll find in Italy nowadays.

1. Franco-Provençal and Occitan are spoken in the West of Italy because of its closeness to the Provence and Occitane regions in France. They are one of the few languages recognized as “proper languages” by the Italian government, and they are co-official languages. They are in theory dying out languages according to the UNESCO.

2. Friulian and LadinFriulian is spoken in North-Eastern Italy, near the border with Slovenia. It is recognized by the Italian government and has about half a million speakers, they will all speak Italian as well! Friulian has the same origins as Ladin, which is another regional language, with approximately 30,000 native speakers. Ladin is taught in primary schools, but all its speakers are bilingual.

Want to hear the dialects in action? Watch Star Trek dubbed in Friulian and the news in Ladin.

3. Venetian is a Romance language spoken in the region of Veneto (the capital is Venice) by about 2 million people . It is similar to Italian, French and Spanish, and is basically similar and easy to comprehend with its neighboring languages. Although it had a certain prestige in the past, nowadays it has no official recognition.

Dutch: Full of ‘Historical Junk’



The Dutch language comprises of many useless components, making it difficult and complex to use, according to research by linguist Sterre Leufkens. Dutch, compared to 21 non-European languages, including Bantawa, Samoan and Egyptian Arabic, has the most unnecessary grammatical elements and rules. Dutch is complicated and long-winded according to survey. Take, for example, the difference between ‘de’ and ‘het’, both of which mean ‘the’ in English. When Dutch language was adopted in South Africa, the difference was soon replaced by ‘die’.

Dutch & Other Languages

It is surprising to know how many Dutch words are adapted from other languages. French were considered to be the experts at speaking Dutch in the world, which probably led to a lot of borrowings from French; such as paraplu (umbrella), bureau (desk or office), and horloge (wrist watch), among many others.

Large Jewish populations began in Holland during the Middle Ages which is why Dutch has almost equal in the number of borrowings from Hebrew. Jews established their own versions of the local language, Yiddish. It is also contributed to Dutch by process of linguistic osmosis. Today most of the Hebrew words are part of the ‘street’ or slang language in Amsterdam, such as bajes (jail), jatten (to steal), and kapsones (arrogance).

Dutch Words

There are three main aspects that make Dutch a curious language which makes it look very odd to English-speakers and even the speakers of most other languages.

To begin with Dutch is very hard to pronounce. Dutch has a many hard consonant sounds which can be very rough on the throat making enunciation difficult. When a person starts learning Dutch, it’s the throat usually starts to hurt as one tries chewing through words like Scheveningen. For those who think German is a tough language to pronounce well, can stay calm because the Dutch hit those hard consonants even harder. Nonetheless, those who already know Germany; it can be somewhat easy for them to learn Dutch. Although the difference between the two languages is unlimited enough that in World War II it would identify German spies by the way they pronounced Dutch words.

Dutch also contains some extremely long words. More than thirty letters isn’t uncommon, like their word for Chronic Fatigue Syndrome: chronischevermoeidheidssyndroom. Where English uses three words, the Dutch simply have one giant word. These Dutch words are long, and have a lot of consonants, which can make it difficult to read and speak. Take slechtstschrijvend (worst writ­ing) for example. After trying to learn and pronounce words with nine or more consonants in a row, you’ll need a BREAK.

Pointless elements in Dutch grammar include the multiple forms for verbs – hij loopt and wij lopen – and dual plurals like ‘ziektes’ and ‘ziekten’. There are also three different ways of combining words to create new ones. Leufkens suggests Dutch could have become so full of ‘historical junk’ because so few people have used Dutch as a second language. If a language is adopted en masse by people a more simplified version will emerge.

Arabic: A beautiful, complex and important language


Arabic language has had a multitude of impacts and no one can deny the influence that the language has had on just about every aspect of the modern world. Arabic is a beautiful creation that has gained awesome power over the years. Almost all translation junkies are in love with the language simply because of some intriguing and amazing facts about Arabic that few people know.

The Arabic Alphabet

The Arabic language generally comprises of 28 letters in the Arabic alphabet, but additional letters are regularly added when there are phonics which can’t be imitated in Arabic, especially in foreign names and words. The letters ‘p’ and ‘g’ are good examples of sounds which cannot be replicated in Arabic which highlights how adaptive and open Arabic tends to be.

Unlike English Arabic is written from right to left. Arabic is actually bi-directional, and when English words are comprised in a sentence it shifts to left-to-right, then back again? Cool, eh!

Arabic Numerals

Arabs came up with numbers and English borrowed numerals from the Arabic language which is why they are referred to as ‘Arabic Numerals’ in English. However they are called ‘Indian Numbers’ in Arabic Countries.

Arabic Writing

Arabic language has no structure of capitalization letters, it uses quotes to indicate the commencement of a sentence in an Arabic text. Arabic letters are often connected, but can also be written distinctly from each other, and their shape alters under certain conditions, like their situation in a word. This has defied anyone trying to learn Arabic for years!

Arabic Borrowing

Many people study Arabic believing it is the most elusive language in the world, partly because it has so actively borrowed words and continuously creates new ones, giving writers working in Arabic an extremely detailed control over the connotation of what they’re trying to say. In Arabic you don’t have to depend on multiple metaphors to get your meaning through – there is almost definitely an exact word which will mean exactly what you’re trying to say.

Arabic is a beautiful language, and contains within it centuries of history and cultural development.


Challenges of Arabic to English Translation


Language translation between Arabic and English has always done poorly according to stats, partly because of multiple misunderstandings and problems arising from strange language choices or absolute inaccuracies in translated texts. Let’s see why are there so many problems with Arabic translations?

Cultural Vocabulary

The problem, is more about cultures than language, or the skill of the translator in question. As a matter of fact there are simple concepts in English and Arabic that don’t exist in the other language. You can’t interpret such notions easily, as you first need to comprehend them perfectly to yourself (in and of itself a challenge) and then build sentences to describe the concepts which are normally conveyed as a single word.

Examples abound:

khalwah, an unmarried man and woman found alone in a space with no one else around;

qaTiiat al-arHaam, being on poor terms with your relatives.

Now, neither of these concepts is impossible to understand in English, but if they really require to be translated then you will need to use an awkward sentence or two, as opposed to a single word or short phrase. Apart from the option of missing indirect meanings even if you are acquainted with the conception. Sometimes you also begin to lose control over the style and movement of the effort. Even if you achieve to maintain the literal significance, there is a fair chance you might not be able to master your Arabic writing skills.

Geographical Vocabulary

Likewise, Arabic is a language which was born in the desert and also formed by the circumstances in the region, which incline towards dry and hot climate. This results in many simple words, for example the word for sand; take on amplified cultural and religious weight that is unwritten implicitly by an Arabic-speaking spectator but will be totally missed by an English audience and also by readers of a translation that doesn’t make an effort to capture these shadings.

Arabic and English are as difficult today for translation as it has always been. The only way to begin solving the problem is to understand the mechanics behind it.

Best languages that Influence the World

big map

Studies have revealed how information flows across different countries to communicate and spread ideas far and wide. It’s a fact; speak or write in English and the world will hear you. Choose to speak or write in Tamil or Portuguese, you may find it difficult and hard to get the message out. According to statistics the second best language is Spanish or Chinese.

The study of mapping out best speaking language incited by a conversation about an untranslated book. A master’s thesis formed the basis of this new research. A bilingual Hebrew-English speaker told his MIT adviser who was a Spanish-English speaker, about an untranslated book written in Hebrew whose translation into English he wasn’t yet aware of. He then initiated his research about how to create worldwide maps of information and ideas transmitting for multilingual people.

Researchers tackled the problem by describing three global language networks based on bilingual tweeters, book translations, and multilingual Wikipedia edits. The book translation network maps number of books translated into other languages. That network is based on 2.2 million translations of printed books published in more than 1000 languages. For tweets, the researchers used 550 million tweets by 17 million users in 73 languages. In that network, if a user tweets in, say, Hindi as well as in English, the two languages are connected. To build the Wikipedia network, the researchers tracked edits in up to five languages done by editors, carefully excluding bots.

It was observed that English has the most transmissions; to and from other languages and is the most central hub, in all three networks. On the other hand the maps also disclose “a halo of intermediate hubs,” such as French, German, and Russian, which serve the same function at a different scale.

In contrast, some languages with large populations of speakers, such as Mandarin, Hindi, and Arabic, are relatively quarantined in these networks. This concluded that fewer communications in those languages reach speakers of other languages. Meanwhile, a language like Dutch—spoken by 27 million people— was shown to be an unreasonably large channel, compared with a language like Arabic, which has a massive 530 million native and second-language speakers. This was accredited to Dutch which was very multilingual online.

The network maps only reveals what is already widely known: If you want to get your ideas out, you can reach a lot of people through the English language. However it also discloses how speakers in distinct languages benefit from being indirectly associated through hub languages large and small. On Twitter, for example, ideas in Filipino can supposedly move to the Korean-speaking sphere of influence through Malay, whereas the most likely path for ideas to go from Turkish to Malayalam (spoken in India by 35 million people) is through English.

The authors note that the users they studied, whom they consider literate since they are online, do not represent all the speakers of a language. However, these elites of global languages have a disproportionate amount of power and responsibility, because they are silently the perspectives in which distant cultures comprehend each other—even if this is not their goal,” Hidalgo says. Most people learned about the conflict in Ukraine 2014 through news stories initially written in English and then translated to other languages. In this case, “any unspoken bias or angle taken by the English media will color the material about the conflict available now to many non-English speakers.

The networks potentially offer guidance to governments and other language communities that want to change their international role. If a country wants its national language to be more prominent, then it should invest in translating more documents, boosting more people to tweet in their national language. On the contrary, if a country wants their ideas to spread, it should pick a second language that’s very well connected.

For those who don’t speak English, English as second or third language is a clear option for them. For English speakers, the analysis suggests it would be more beneficial to choose Spanish over Chinese especially if they’re spreading their ideas through writing.

The problem of measuring the relative status of the world’s languages “is a very tricky one, and often very hard to get good data about,” says Mark Davis, the president and co-founder of the Unicode Consortium in Mountain View, California, which does character encoding for the world’s computers and mobile devices. “Their perspective on the problem is interesting and useful.”

Cultural transmission happens in spoken language too. Data on interactions reveal the souks of Marrakech, where people speak Arabic, Hassaniya, Moroccan Arabic, French, Tashelhit, and other languages, are impossible to get but important in cultural transmission. As internet becomes available to more people around the world, they go online in their own languages. When they do so they know how to connect to other languages and move their ideas, too.

Fast turnaround time…it’s no joke!

Time_imageIs it a farce? You might think so if you believe that the translation industry operates off of machines. But that is not the case. When it comes to a translation or localization project, our main focus is to keep the cost as low as possible, the fastest turnaround time and the highest quality. In reality nothing is perfect. It is vital to understand priorities in order to accomplish and implement the best translation project.

This post gives an overview of time, cost and quality as it relates to translation project management.


The Trio of Translation Projects

The story goes that a middle manager at NASA hung a sign that read:TriangleTimeCostQuality

  • Quality
  • Time
  • Cost

Along came a wise-guy engineer who promptly wrote beneath the sign “Pick 2.” With translation projects, and indeed with any project, there is always a tradeoff.

In project management, the three attributes of quality, time and cost as the trio of project management. The strategy is to assess each of these aspects of a translation project and then to make a purpose as to which two are most significant for the project. This decision should then remain the focus of the entire translation project.

Time and Translation

Some translation projects are urgent and need immediate turnaround while others have no specific deadline, and more time can be budgeted for them. On average, an individual translator can translate about 2,000 words a day. If your project has 20,000 words then you can calculate the cost to be 10 working days for your turnaround time. Remember that you may have to also factor in editing, proofing and desktop publishing (or formatting). The key is finding a reasonable turnaround time to meet the needs of your translation project.

If that average turnaround time is insufficient to meet your needs, there are possibilities to lessen time to speed up your turnaround, each of which has an effect on both quality and cost.

Here are some of the options you have when it comes to reducing the time needed for your translation project.

Use Multiple Linguists

Using multiple linguists is perhaps the first step to reducing the turnaround time of a translation project. However, you must consider that while it may be faster than using just one translator, there is some additional work. For example, the project manager must reconcile the two “voices” of the translators, and if the source material is highly stylistic it may be harder to harmonize the styles of the individual linguists.

Don’t Use Editors or Proofers

Another way to save time is to only use translators and to forego using editors and proofers for your translation project. This saves a lot of time, and even reduces the overall costs, but can have an impact on quality. Editors and proofers are there as second and third sets of eyes to catch any errors or clear up any confusion that the translator may have missed. Without these quality control steps, the overall translation quality may suffer.

Use Machine Translation

Machine Translation (MT) can have an extremely fast turnaround time. Also, machine translations are much cheaper, and even free in some cases (Google Translate). However, when using MT, there is a significant gamble as to the quality of the final translation. Do you want to trust your company’s reputation to a machine?

Use Human-Enhanced Machine Translation

Human-Enhanced Machine Translation (HEMT) involves running your source material through a machine translator and then having a human translator “clean up” the final translation, correcting any major errors. This method is much faster than using the traditional translation-editing-proofing (TEP) of a typical translation project, but offers much lower quality than using native language TEP.

Quality and Translation

When your translation project involves highly sensitive, highly technical or high-value information, then quality may be the most important attribute for your translation project. One thing to remember when it comes to seeking higher quality is the phrase “you get what you pay for.” A quality translator with an advanced degree and real work experience with your subject matter will most likely be more expensive than a generalist, entry-level translator.

The more levels you add to your translation project, typically the longer the turnaround time and the higher the cost of the overall project. Here are some ways to increase the quality of your translation project.

Use Certified Processes

Any project is better that follows a standardized process. When it comes to translation and localization projects, there are standards such as ISO9001, EN15038 and ASTM F2575 that help define translation processes and include quality checks and standards.

Use Subject Matter Experts

Using someone who is a subject matter expert as well as a language expert is the best way to ensure that the materials in your source will be properly translated into your target language.

As an aside, we at Language Scientific hold to our founding philosophy “if you do not understand it, you cannot translate it.” For example, a generalist with a literature degree may not be best qualified to translate your nuclear engineering or specialty clinical research documents. We have numerous anecdotes of documents that were translated word for word, but got the concept wrong due to lack of knowledge of the subject matter.

At a minimum if you are looking for high quality translation, you will want to use translators that are native language speakers, have advanced degrees, years of experience translating, and real working knowledge of the subject matter.

Use Translators, Editors and Proofers

To increase the quality of any translation it is always best to use multiple people to go over the translation. Just like when writing, one cannot best edit or proof their own work; with translation it is better to have a translator, editor and proofer to check for errors that a translator alone may have missed.

Use Back Translation

Back translation adds an additional layer of quality checking to any translation project. In this process, a document that has been forward translated is then back translated into the source language by a translator who has no knowledge of the original document. The two versions are then compared to see if there are discrepancies or areas of confusion due to mistranslation.

Use Cognitive Debriefing

Cognitive debriefing is sometimes added to the linguistic validation process to again add even more quality assurance checks to the final translation. Cognitive debriefing is the process by which an instrument is actively tested among representatives of the target population and target language group to determine if the respondents understand the questionnaire the same as the original would be understood.

Cost and Translation

If you have limited or no funds for your translation, then cost will be your most important factor when it comes to your translation project. Depending on how much you need to save for your translation project, you may do any of the following.

Use Machine Translation

We discussed machine translation earlier in this blog, and it does reduce the cost of your translation project. However, there are big risks associated with MT, and the savings you may gain in the short term may be negated by long-term liabilities you have due to mis-translations.

Ask a Bilingual Employee or Friend to Translate

If time and quality are not important, you may ask a bilingual employee, colleague or friend to translate your documents. A consideration here includes lesser quality because these are not professional, trained interpreters. Also, one should remember that any time spent by an employee on the translation is time spent away from their other work responsibilities.

Use Just One Translator

Using just one translator is a way to reduce translation costs, however the time may take longer based on the capacity of that translator’s words per day. What happens when that translator is sick or unable to work on the translation? Also, the quality may suffer because there is no one checking the work of that translator.

When it comes to translation projects the client, translation vendors, the translators, editors, project managers and all involved with the translation or localization must be on the same page. You must be able to weigh your specific goals to determine how you can best achieve them. You must determine how time, quality and cost relate to your larger goals and then figure out which two are most important. The project manager throughout the project can then balance those aspects of your project accordingly to meet your needs.



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      首先,关于svn的版本控制问题, 由于用eclipse安装svn插件之后,由于文件关联和路径问题会产生很多问题,甚至导致编译不通过,经过查阅相关资料,Android项目建议以下内容不要上传到svn服务器:

  • bin目录
  • gen目录
  • .classpath文件
  • .project文件


1、点击Window -> Preferences

2、选择Team -> Ignored Resources

3、点击Add Pattern 输入”bin”

4、点击Add Pattern 输入”target”

5、点击Add Pattern 输入”m2-target”

6、点击Add Pattern 输入”gen”

7、点击Add Pattern 输入”*.classpath”

8、点击Add Pattern 输入”*.project”

          9、点击Apply 、OK


注意,有时候,eclipse会将src目录下的东西到考到bin里,这样.svn也会跟着进去,即使bin被屏蔽了,但还是在进行svn更新和提交等操作时有问题,解决方法:菜单 – Project – Properties – Java Build Path – Source – xxx/src – Excluded,双击或点右边的Edit,在Exclusion patterns中加入”**/.svn/**”,让Eclipse忽略.svn目录即可。


Small Is Beautiful



高中起,就对计算机网络有着好感,觉得它们神奇和强大;大学时,拥有了自己的电脑,觉得计算机语言可以复杂到无止尽,于是便把研究它们的任务留给了专门学这个专业的童鞋;工作了,发现电脑、网络和一切电子产品,成了工作中不可或缺的存在。又开始了研究、使用,并努力和他们成为好朋友,尽管曾经觉得他们太多诱惑,引人沉沦,不知不觉中“偷 ”去我们很多时间。然而,我们却真的离不开这些“聪明”的朋友。他们越来越大,越来越聪明,我们又怎能拒绝这些优秀的东西?我们需要的是控制自己作为人所有的 “人性弱点”,和这部分dark side斗争,来使得自己更加强大。


马云说二十一世纪“Small is beautiful.”,微博及各种网络新型事物的出现,似乎实现了人的无所不能。多么欣喜的进步,应该未来的世界里,一切都将能顺人心意,而人的心意,也能如初生婴儿般纯净美好。 那么,未来的天空该多蓝,夜晚星星会多亮。