Spanish is a romance language from the Indo-European language that evolved from Vulgar Latin spoken in the Iberian Peninsula. After the fall of the Roman Empire, the language remained and in the 13th century, it became the basis for a standard written language. The language known then as Castilian was documented by scribes of the king at the same time that it was spreading south and replacing local languages. In 1492 the first grammar of Spanish was created, just before Columbus ventured to the Americas. Colonization began in Central and South America, where the language spread and evolved into the various dialects there today. Spanish has the third most speakers in the world with more than 550 million, including 470 million native speakers and another 90 million as second language learners and students. It is an official language in 20 countries, including Spain, Mexico, Columbia, and Argentina, and is spoken in numerous more countries throughout the world.
Swahili is a language descendant from Bantu branch of the Niger-Congo family. The language originated around the western coast of Africa and was spread by fishermen and traders in the 6th century to the area of the African Great Lakes and surrounding communities. The language continued to spread and evolve, adopting some words from Islam as well as the Arabic script as far back as the 1700s. The spread of the language slowed during European colonization, during which the Latin script was adopted. In 1928 the Zanzibar dialect of Swahili was chosen to create a standard written language, where it is taught as a second language in schools in many African countries. Today, an estimated 150 million people speak Swahili as a native or second language. It is an official language in Tanzania, Kenya, Uganda, Democratic Republic of Congo, Comoros, and Zanzibar, as well as the African Union.
Swedish is a language from the Germanic branch of the Indo-European family that descended from Old Norse and is closely related to Norwegian and Dutch. Old Norse began to separate into East and West dialects in the 8th century, and in the 13th century, the eastern dialects began to diverge between Sweden and Denmark. The language continued to develop in Medieval times, switching from the Runic alphabet to the Latin script, and undergoing influences from Greek, Latin, and German. In the 16th century, the printing press was created and a Swedish translation of the Bible was published, helping to spread and solidify the language. Today, Swedish is spoken by more than 9 million people, mainly in Sweden, where it is the national and official language, and Finland, where it is a co-official language with Finish.
If you need anything translated into one of these languages, come on over to Lionbridge onDemand. Stay tuned for our next A-Z blog where we’ll tell you about the Lionbridge languages that begin with “T”.
(*These are the languages for which we have translators on staff and ready to go. If there is a language that you do not see on this list, you can put in a request and we can find and source a linguist for you.)