Understanding more than one language is becoming more common as globalization brings cultures into more direct contact. Some languages, such as English and Mandarin, have gained millions of speakers. Other languages, such as Quechua and Tlingit, have become endangered.

Photograph by Mark Thiessen, National Geographic
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    On September 30, 1953, the world first recognized International Translation Day. The date was chosen to honor the birthday of St. Jerome, who translated the Bible from Hebrew and Greek into Latin in the late 300s.
    Translation is increasingly important as globalization creates a more interconnected world. Most translators work for the government, non-governmental organizations (NGOs), or multinational corporations. Translators “help politicians negotiate complicated treaties and agreements to avoid international conflicts and wars, help parents obtain the necessary treatment for a sick child in an emergency room . . . ensure that machinery can be used safely around the world through professionally-translated technical manuals, and that software is localized so that we can all use it in our primary language.”
  • Term Part of Speech Definition Encyclopedic Entry
    avoid Verb

    to stay away from something.

    complicate Verb

    to make more complex, difficult, or detailed.

    conflict Noun

    a disagreement or fight, usually over ideas or procedures.

    ensure Verb

    to guarantee.

    globalization Noun

    connection of different parts of the world resulting in the expansion of international cultural, economic, and political activities.

    Encyclopedic Entry: globalization
    government Noun

    system or order of a nation, state, or other political unit.

    immigrant Noun

    person who moves to a new country or region.

    interconnected Adjective

    connected with one another.

    international Adjective

    having to do with more than one country.

    language Noun

    set of sounds, gestures, or symbols that allows people to communicate.

    Latin Noun

    language of ancient Rome and the Roman Empire.

    law Noun

    public rule.

    machinery Noun

    mechanical appliances or tools used in manufacturing.

    manual Noun

    small instructional booklet.

    multinational corporation Noun

    business that manages the production of goods or delivers services in several countries.

    necessary Adjective

    required or needed.

    negotiate Verb

    to discuss with others of different viewpoints in order to reach an agreement, contract, or treaty.

    NGO Noun

    non-governmental organization.

    obtain Verb

    to get or take possession of.

    politician Noun

    person who serves as a representative of the citizens of a geographic area to the local, state, or national government.

    primary Adjective

    first or most important.

    recognize Verb

    to identify or acknowledge.

    software Noun

    electronic programs of code that tell computers what to do.

    translate Verb

    to turn written or spoken text into a different language.

    translation Noun

    version of something in a new or different language from the original.

    treaty Noun

    official agreement between groups of people.

    war Noun

    large-scale armed conflict.