Esperanto: A Bridge Language for Translators
The globalization of commerce and government has greatly increased the need for translators in our world. A multi-national corporation needs to translate its communications into hundreds of languages; a organization like the European Union or United Nations needs to make its proceedings and decisions available in dozens or hundreds of languages as well. Immigration and the Internet further increase need for translators, as people take advantage of economic and social opportunities countries or even continents away.
To effectively communicate with all of these people in languages familiar to them would require thousands of translators: a Danish-Hungarian translator, a Finnish-Urdu translator, a Bantu-Croatian translator, etc. One can quickly see that is situation becomes impractical and expensive. Selecting a handful of working languages and using only those to communicate, however, is not an ideal solution. Millions of people who do not speak one of the chosen languages are left out, and the selection of some working languages to the exclusion of others creates friction. Supporting even a handful of working languages is still an immense expense. Indeed, the United Nations and the European Union spends billions of dollars on translations and translators every year, and as more working languages are added, this number grows exponentially.
But Esperanto, the International Language, can help. First published in 1887 by Dr. L.L. Zamenhof, Esperanto has grown into a language spoken by millions worldwide. It is unique as a truly international language, because speakers of Esperanto come from every country and nearly every linguistic group.
Esperanto is already used by translators as a "bridge language." For example, say the United Nations needs to translate a document from Danish into Hungarian, Spanish, and Russian. Danish-Hungarian translators, Danish-Spanish, Danish-Russian translators are rare, and less-than-perfect translators may be called upon to fulfill the task, with the risk of errors and mistranslation. But Esperanto speakers of those languages are much more common. A Danish-Esperanto translator creates an Esperanto translation of the document; Esperanto-Hungarian, Esperanto-Spanish, and Esperanto-Russian translators then translate the Esperanto document into the respective national languages.
Because Esperanto is easier to learn than any other language, fluency can be achieved faster than fluency in a national language, like English, Italian, or Chinese. Individuals who being learning Esperanto even late in life can achieve complete, natural fluency in the language -- in short, they can "speak it live a native." Resulting translations are more natural and less prone to error, because each translator has a native command of his/her national language and a "native" command of Esperanto.
When Esperanto is used a bridge language for translators, more working languages can be supported with far less expense. Adding French as a working language to Spanish, Greek, Italian, and English would require only a French-Esperanto translator, not French-Spanish, French-Greek, French-Italian, and French-English translators. The more working languages, the greater the benefit. Less frequently spoken languages, then, can be given the same support as more frequently spoken languages, reducing cultural friction and conflict and reaching out to more people world-wide.
Because of its logical construction, regular grammar, and simple pronunciation, Esperanto is an excellent candidate for use in translation software, machine translation, and speech recognition. Some translation and dictionary programs already on the market use Esperanto as a bridge language.
If you'd like to learn more about Esperanto, this website provides a wealth of materials, including the beneficial effects of bilingualism on the brain, travel opportunities available to Esperanto-speakers, and ways to get started learning Esperanto. We'll send you more information about learning and using Esperanto if you fill out this brief online form.