Italian is a Romance language — and the closest living language to Latin, the progenitor of all of the Romance languages, from French, Galician and Portuguese to Catalan, Romanian and Spanish, plus many more. The influence of Latin, and in modern times Italian, is monumental. And so it should be obvious that Italian translation, and the numerous Italian words that have found their ways into non-Italian tongues, should be globally significant (from cultural and translation perspectives) as well.
Taking a look at English — with its Germanic (non-Latin) grammar foundations — we can see that a ton of Italian words have made their way into the English vernacular. This is significant for translators working with English, and who also translate Italian, to be aware of. It’s also pretty useful for native and non-native English speakers alike, who are learning foreign languages (especially Romance languages) to keep in mind.
Just to give you an idea of what we’re talking about, here’s a brief sample of Italian words that are also used in English (not just for food, either) that you probably already know: al dente, alarm (allarme), artichoke, broccoli, cartoon (cartone), cello, concert, diva, fiasco, lagoon, lasagna, malaria, novel, opera, pasta, rocket (rocchetto), soprano (like the singers, and the infamous and fictional Tony Soprano), umbrella, volcano, zero (French and Italian) and so much more.
From the culinary and fine arts, to science and philosophy, Italian thinkers and tinkerers (and therefore the Italian language) have been influencing the world for centuries, intertwining the arts and sciences with novel ideas — figuring out new ways of doing things, and fresh approaches as to how we should view our very existence.
Italian Translation Over the Years
The need to know Italian, and the need for Italian translation and translators, has been thriving in Europe — and indeed the West and the rest of the world — for a very long time. Take a glance at the catalog of minds the Italian Peninsula has produced, and you can easily see why: Great masters, painters and poets, as well as writers, composers and explorers like Amerigo Vespucci (for whom the Americas are named after), Caravaggio, Christopher Columbus, Dante, Galileo, Giuseppe Verdi, Leonardo Da Vinci, Luciano Pavarotti (famous tenor), Marco Polo, Michelangelo, Niccolo Machiavelli, Raphael, Umberto Eco (Author) and Vivaldi have all over the course of human history called Italy their home. And yes, that is an extremely impressive (and only partial) list.
Italian translation, in its modern form (the language has evolved from, and competed with many different regional dialects — with Tuscan variations eventually winning out) takes on a more business approach these days, as Italy is the ninth largest economy on the planet. There are currently around 61 million Italian speakers in Italy (and elsewhere), many involved in global commerce and manufacturing and most are only fluent in Italian. They need to communicate with the world and the world needs to communicate with them. After all, who doesn’t want to own a Lamborghini, Ferrari or a Maserati?
The language’s storied history, and the rich meanings and nuances of Italian words in their native form — plus Italian words in other languages (especially English) — all reinforce the fact that this language, from the land that gave birth to the sweeping cultural, moral and scientific power of The Renaissance, is still vital to the world today. Italian translation services, for global business needs, or simply for pleasure and tourism, are definitely here to stay.
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