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The English language

Translating your content into English can enable you to reach out to 320 million English speakers all over the world.

English is an essential language for any international business, one of the six official languages of the United Nations and the official language for air travel. Spoken throughout places such as the Bahamas, the Falkland Islands, and the United Kingdom, the English language is constantly changing, with thousands of words being added to the English dictionary every year. Ironically, ‘pronunciation’ is one of the most mispronounced words in the English language. With multiple different ways to pronounce ‘ough’, it’s no wonder many speakers of foreign languages find English difficult to master.

The English language is an intricate tapestry woven from numerous threads of history, culture, and global influence. Its origin is fascinating, tracing back thousands of years to multiple regions across Europe, and its current usage is widespread, spanning continents, nations, and cultures.

Origins and Brief History:

  • The English language originates from the Germanic languages brought to Britain in the 5th Century AD by the Anglo-Saxons, a collection of tribes from what is now Germany, Denmark, and the Netherlands. 
  • Old English, the earliest form of the language, was spoken from the 5th to the 12th Century. It was significantly influenced by the Norse language following Viking invasions. An example of Old English is the epic poem ‘Beowulf’.
  • In the late 11th Century, the Norman Conquest introduced French and Latin elements to English, transitioning from Old English to Middle English. Geoffrey Chaucer’s ‘The Canterbury Tales’ is an example of Middle English.
  • Early Modern English evolved around the late 15th Century, marking the period of the Great Vowel Shift – a linguistic phenomenon that significantly altered the pronunciation of English vowels.
  • By the late 17th Century, Modern English, as we know it today, emerged. This form of English continued to borrow words from many other languages.

Number of Speakers and Where it is Used:

  • Today, English is spoken by approximately 1.5 billion people around the world, either as a native, second, or foreign language.
  • As an official language, it is used in 67 sovereign states and 27 non-sovereign entities, including countries like the United Kingdom, the United States, Australia, Canada, New Zealand, and parts of Africa, Asia, and the Caribbean.
  • English is the dominant or co-official language in many international organisations, such as the United Nations, the European Union, the Commonwealth of Nations, and the International Olympic Committee.

Examples of English Text and Audio:

  • A widely known example of Modern English text is the opening line of Charles Dickens’s novel “A Tale of Two Cities”: “It was the best of times, it was the worst of times…”.
  • As for audio, the BBC World Service broadcasts news and information worldwide in English, showcasing various dialects and accents of the English-speaking world.

Usage of the English Language:

  • English is used across several domains, including science, aviation, computers, diplomacy, and tourism, mainly due to its widespread acceptance and recognition.
  • It’s the most widely taught foreign language in schools worldwide and the language of the Internet, with more than half of all content online in English.
  • Literature, film, and music industries also contribute significantly to the usage and spread of English.

Absorption of Words into English:

  • English is known for its adaptability and willingness to borrow words from other languages. We’ve adopted words like ‘ballet’ and ‘café’ from French. In Italian, words like ‘piano’ and ‘cappuccino’. From Japanese, we’ve absorbed ‘karaoke’ and ‘emoji’. 
  • English words have also been derived from languages like Greek (‘dinosaur’, ‘kryptonite’), Latin (‘audio’, ‘video’), German (‘kindergarten’, ‘doppelgänger’), and many others.


In conclusion, English is a continually evolving global lingua franca, representing a rich history and a vast spectrum of cultural influences. It remains a critical international communication and understanding tool in our interconnected world.

Here at Brightlines, we offer our clients a number of different English translation services, including copywriting, voiceovers and consultancy.

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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.

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If you need English translations, get in touch with our team, or get a quick quote.