Global English and the Role of Translation

| December 28, 2007
Global English and the Role of Translation

Keywords: English as an International Language, the future of English, English as a global language

Saleh M. Al-Salman
University of Jordan

Bio Data
Dr. Saleh M. Al-Salman is a Professor of theoretical (historical) linguistics and translation at the University of Jordan, Amman, Jordan. His research interests are within the domain of linguistic theory and its practical applications in EFL/ESL and translation. He is a published writer with over thirty works of books and papers which are mainly published in peer-reviewed, refereed, international journals. Professor Al-Salman is a recipient of two distinguished research grants/awards: The Fulbright Research Fellowship at Michigan State University, USA, and a DAAD fellowship (The German Academic Fellowships Program), University of Passau, Germany. He is a member of many professional societies, and is on the editorial boards of some specialized journals.

Language has been considerably affected by the significant trend of globalization in the last two decades. A case in point is the international status accorded to English as the largely unchallenged and most dominant language. Yet, with this undisputed internationalization of English, the question remains for the specialist, as to whether or not translation from or into English still has a role to play in this rapidly developing world given the advances in communication technology. The present study is threefold. First, it attempts to set the standards for the globalization of English as an International Language despite strong competition from other languages. The factors which determine power in language and society may be identified in the following: 1. Access to resources: economic, political, material, etc. 2. Role in the decision-making process at the international level; 3. Ability to introduce and cope with the global technical developments, including the information superhighway and communication technology, among others. It is imperative, therefore, that in a global society only powerful languages, like English, take, the lead and stay on top due to their major role in disseminating and mediating information technology and resulting tools, such as e-mail service and the world-wide-web, among others. Equally important is the role of English in international politics and diplomacy, in resolving international conflicts, and in affecting the world economy.

Second, the paper looks into the future of English amidst the fierce competition from other powerful languages, taking into account, among others, demographic and economic factors. Third, the paper sets to launch an investigation into the role of translation in this context of globalization, and to determine whether or not translation is still in demand. Given that only 60% of the entire world s technical documentation is produced in English, there remains room for other languages to contribute in the dissemination of information. Such a process may only be realized though translation from or into English. The paper draws on the educated and intelligent judgments and opinions of language experts and specialists in the field, including university professors, curriculum planners and material designers for EIL, translators, and language users. Additional information has been obtained from the literature on the subject, to verify and assess the findings of the present study.


See pages 141-15

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Category: Main Editions, Volume 9 Issue 4