Last updated on July 10th, 2020 at 09:59 am
It is always an interesting phenomenon when two neighboring nations share a language. Social development, political activity, colonialism, and environmental changes through history all influence linguistic development.
Canadians and Americans both speak English, but there are many small differences that make the two nations sound different. What are some of those differences? Why is English Localization important? Creating or translation English content for the US is different than doing it for Canada. Let’s explore!
Canada has two official languages, English and French. According to Western Linguistics Canada, over 200 languages are spoken in Canada, and the vast majority of the population is at least bilingual, speaking one of the official languages, if not both. The use of other languages in Canada is growing; one notable example being Tagalog, as immigration from the Asian subcontinent, especially the Pacific area, grows.
In the United States, English is the dominant language, followed closely by varieties of Spanish, a fast-growing language group. The USA has long been known as a melting pot of cultures and languages and does not have an official language. Besides Spanish, other languages increasing in use are Chinese, Japanese, French, and many more. With the ubiquity of the Internet and globalized trade, more and more businesses from Canada and the United States are finding it necessary to translate their websites, marketing materials, and legal papers.
Canadian English borrows a lot of spelling and pronunciation from British English and has done a lot of growing on its own. Canadian English is generally well-understood by its neighbor to the south and vice versa. Let’s look at some examples of particular differences.
In the USA, nouns that end in “-ice” will often end in “-ise” in Canada, and nouns that end in “-ter” will often end in “-tre” in Canada. A few examples, with the USA’s version first, are:
The root languages of words play a large role in their spelling. Words with Latin roots will end in “-ise,” whereas words with Greek roots end in “-ize.” Words taken from French, like “theatre,” favor the “-tre” ending over “-ter.”
Sometimes words will be completely different instead of only spelled differently, like these, with the USA’s version first:
Slang and Regional Terms
Slang, colloquialisms, and other regional terms highlight the importance of language localization in translation services and give a language its distinctive sound.
All of the examples presented above are differences in usage of words, spelling, vocabulary, and expressions. They are all important elements to take into consideration when creating or translating content in English for Canada or English for USA. You need to select a native English translator or writer that will create the content appropriately.
It’s easy to think that small differences in languages can be ignored, but that is not the case. When translating for a certain language group in a certain population and place, it is vital that professional translators skilled in localization be used. Otherwise, the message may not resonate with the intended audience and will not produce the results desired.
Always be specific with your translation company when describing your intended audience to help them give you the best results possible. JR Language uses only native professionals fluent in the source language, the target language, and well-versed in the culture the translated material is meant to embody.