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Language facts: Polish

Polish is a West Slavic language and the official language of Poland. It is most closely related to Czech and Slovak, sharing the region of Central Europe. 

It is spoken by around 55 million people around the world, primarily in Poland (around 38 million), and by immigrant communities in many countries in Europe, the UAE and USA (there are 11 million Polish Americans and a vast diaspora lives also in the UK). It is also one of the official EU languages. 

LANGUAGE OF A COMPLICATED TERRITORY

Polish language appeared around the 10th century as a result of an emerging Polish state. Until accepting Christianity and the Latin script, there was no alphabet to write Polish down so it existed only in spoken form. Despite a very complicated history of Poland and Polish people, and many attempts to suppress the language, its literature still developed. Nowadays, Polish is the second most widely spoken Slavic language in the world (after Russian), even surpassing Ukrainian. 

The language has some quite interesting grammar rules. Polish is highly inflected with seven cases for nouns, pronouns and adjectives. It also has a complex gender system, but uses only three tenses. There are no definite or indefinite articles in Polish. Interestingly, when formally addressing someone (even in direct personal communication), Polish switch from second to third person and use the pronouns pan (Mr.), pani (Mrs.) or panstwo (plural - equivalent to "ladies and gentlemen").

POLISH ALPHABET

In addition to the standard Latin alphabet, Polish uses 9 special characters (ą, ć, ę, ł, ń, ó, ś, ź, ż; Ą, Ć, Ę, Ł, Ń, Ó, Ś, Ź, Ż) and special character pairs (ch, cz, dz, dż, dź, sz, rz) which represent sounds not available in the Latin alphabet. 

A Ą B C Ć D E Ę F G H I J K L Ł M N Ń O Ó P R S Ś T U W Y Z Ź Ż

a ą b c ć d e ę f g h i j k l ł m n ń o ó p r s ś t u w y z ź ż

Translation ordering: Stop drowning in emails

You need to translate a document. You write an email with the request to your translation agency. Then another one, because the project manager has issues with your document, and you then end up writing a third one to approve or negotiate the estimated price and delivery term. After the project has started you realize your forgot to attach a glossary or reference material, and you end up emailing yet again. Each mail message naturally involves delays on both sides and attention diversion. Besides they unnecessarily fill up in your inbox.

Eventually, because of this communication ping-pong, the actual launch of your translation project gets postponed by hours, possibly even days. And you of course realize you are wasting time and effort on an issue that should be so simple, not to mention your translation could have already been halfway done.

SO HOW TO MAKE THE TRANSLATION ORDERING PROCESS MORE EFFICIENT?

TRANSLATION ESTIMATES: SELF-SERVICE

The answer to straightforward requests for translation estimates and subsequent order placement is automation and the concept of self-service. Think about an online solution that is globally available 24/7. It should allow upload of all the materials to be translated in dozens of supported file formats at any time of day. You could attach your translation resources (e.g. glossaries, translation memories, style guides, etc.) and the estimation would even respect text reuse from fuzzy matches and repeating segments to reduce cost and delivery time. You would choose the source language and select  the target languages needed. A checkbox for express delivery would be the icing on the cake. All the email hassle and endless waiting for estimates from your translation agency would be gone, instead replaced by a simple button click. You know you could have an estimate in less than a minute. To place your order, you would click an Order button and the translation shuold start at that very moment.

Time saved on both sides, all projects in one place. Where to get it? 

TRY OUT STREAM: AN ONLINE TRANSLATION ESTIMATOR

This level of self-service is provided via Stream – our state-of-the-art estimator platform designed to reduce the time for getting translation price offers and start translation projects instantly through online ordering. 

Check out stream.idioma.com and see the difference :)

Language facts: Swahili

Swahili (or Kiswahili) is a language from the Niger-Congo branch, included in the group of Bantu languages. It is spoken in several East African countries, even reaching across the Mozambique Channel to northern Mozambique and is considered a lingua francain the area of the African Great Lakes as well as other parts of Southeast Africa. 

Swahili is the official language in Kenya, Tanzania, Uganda and Comoros. It is spoken by tens of million of people, possibly even by more than one hundred million people, either as a primary or secondary language.  

Lingua franca of Southeast Africa

This language dates back at least 1,000 years, being in fact the first language of the Swahili people, and originally spread mainly in coastal region by fishermen. During the colonial period, it has been much influenced by German, English, Portuguese, French and even Arabic. It was in fact the German colonists who declared Swahili as the general administrative language in mainland Tanzania (back then Tanganyika). English colonists had similar plans with Swahili in Kenya, but without any official conclusion. However, after the British took over Tanzania – the former colony of the defeated Germany – they instituted Swahili as a common language for lower levels of education and administration in all British colonies in the area (while secondary education and governance would be in English only).

Since 1928, when a conference in Mombasa was held in order to standardize Swahili language and provide it also with a written form (the language uses the Zanzibar Swahili dialect Kiunguja as a basis for standardization), the language has been regulated by the National Swahili Council in Tanzania. Today, Arabic language is gaining influence in Swahili language evolution due to the large amount of Arabic-speaking Muslim inhabitants in the region's east coast.

Alphabet

Swahili has two writing systems: Latin and Arabic. While it used to be based on the Arabic scripts, Latin script is common today.

Latin version:

A B CH D E F G H I J K L M N O P R S T U V W X Y Z

a b ch d e f g h i j k l m n o p r s t u v w x y z

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