The American English Language
American English is very similar to British English but has a distinct identity and is spoken by around 250 million Americans
American English is a unique and colourful variant of English with its distinct history and influences. As of my knowledge cutoff in 2021, American English has become one of the most widely spoken and influential languages globally, demonstrating a significant impact in academia, business, entertainment, and internet communications.
Origins and Brief History:
- American English has its roots in 17th-century British English. The English language was transported to America through British colonisation, with the first permanent English settlement established in Jamestown, Virginia, in 1607.
- Over time, this ‘colonial’ English started to diverge from its British roots. This was due to isolation, the influence of other languages, and the need to find new words for the different realities of life on a new continent.
- Languages from Native American tribes, French, Dutch, Spanish, and various African languages all influenced American English, creating new words and influencing pronunciation and grammar.
- Notably, Noah Webster, an American lexicographer, grammarian, and language reformer, played a vital role in the distinct spelling and pronunciation of American English. In 1828, he published the ‘American Dictionary of the English Language’ that advocated simplified spellings—some that differed from British standards.
Number of Speakers:
- Over 225 million people speak American English as their first language in the United States.
- It is also spoken by millions more worldwide as a second language.
Official Language Status:
- Although the United States has no official language at the federal level, American English is the de facto national language.
- It is the official language in 32 50 states and many US territories.
Usage and Locations:
- American English is used extensively in both formal and informal settings in the United States. It’s also widely used in US territories like Puerto Rico, Guam, and the US Virgin Islands.
- Globally, American English is heavily used in media and entertainment. Movies, music, and digital content from the US have made American English familiar even in non-English-speaking countries.
A striking difference that sets American English apart from British English is the distinct choice of words. For instance, ‘vacation’ in American English is called ‘holiday’ in British English, and what Americans call ‘sidewalks’ is the British term ‘pavements’.
Besides vocabulary, there are also subtle discrepancies in grammar between the two. This is why it’s crucial for businesses intending to connect with their American customers to adapt their content, making it more American-friendly. Even though these variances may appear trivial, the necessity to bridge these linguistic gaps should never be downplayed.
In conclusion, American English remains a significant language within the larger English-speaking world with its rich history and global reach. It continues to evolve, influenced by cultural, political, and technological changes, shaping and being shaped by the people who use it.
Brightlines’ American translators work with brands such as Yahoo, Microsoft and Google to ensure that they communicate with their customers in a way that they will understand and ultimately respond to. Our services range from consultancy to copywriting and quality assurance.
Our translation services - FAQ
Do you use native translators?
Yes, always. All our translators are native speakers and most are still resident in their native country. We pride ourselves on ensuring that all Brightlines’ translators are native. We do not accept applications from non-native candidates or allow them to register on our online recruitment database. All our translators are rigorously tested.
How long will the translations take?
The turnaround for the translation will depend on the word count. As a rough guide, assume that the translators can comfortably process about 2500 words of non-specialised text per day. Proofreading can effectively be completed on a basis of 4000-6000 words a day. Our minimum turnaround time is usually about three days, although it is possible to shorten this if you are in a rush for the final files and we will always be happy to discuss this with you.
What is the variation in your translators’ experience and qualifications? Are they native speakers? Will the cost increase if we use a more experienced translator?
All our translators have to go through a series of tests to make sure they are as good as they say they are, and only if they pass are they allowed to work for Brightlines. There is quite a range of experience and qualifications, but all translators have a minimum of five years’ experience. All translators translate into their mother-tongue without exception and are generally based in-country so they are up-to-date with the local language. We match translators with projects/clients depending on the subject matter, and most of our translators have industry experience in their speciality – there is no better experience than being immersed professionally in the industry they specialise in. Our costs are based on translator experience, speciality (i.e. medical, creative, scientific) and the language choice.
Which languages can you translate into?
We have an extensive database with hundreds of trusted and tested translators covering all commercial languages. If you cannot see the language or dialect you need please ask.
I don’t know the word count; can you base the quote on the number of pages?
Our pricing structure is based on a rate-per-word, but we can estimate from a page count. If we can’t see the source document then we would usually estimate between 300 – 500 words a page depending on the density of the text and the presence of photos and images.
Does the translation need to be proofread?
Brightlines is an ISO 9001:2015 certified company. This means that quality is safeguarded. We adhere to the “four-eyes principle” and translations are always checked by a second professional proofreader (who is not the translator). If the translation is for internal use and reference purposes only (i.e. not to be published, distributed or used in a court of law), or you simply don’t wish to have proofreading, we can remove the proofreading stage.