Modern languages evolve, new words get created all the time and some even make it to the Oxford English Dictionary. This new vocabulary is usually a reflection of new technologies emerging and of society changing, often under the influence of foreign languages and cultures. I would personally say it is a necessary development for the future of any language and probably a healthy sign that the language and the people who speak it are truly alive and kicking.

There are changes which bring something new and interesting. You might argue this is a personal opinion and what is interesting to me might not be of any interest whatsoever to others. I do not hold anything against new words, per se. There are, however, shifts which puzzle me: why do we now say “I have a meet at 2pm”, “Enjoy your teach”, or “this is a big ask”.

I guess I learnt a somewhat academic form of English throughout my studies in France. The French education system is what it is, but I remember long grammar lessons where, armed with pens of different colours, we had to underline verbs, nouns, adjectives, etc. Thus, ‘meet’ is a verb, and so are ‘teach’ and ‘ask’, i.e. they are ‘doing words’, not things. When did this conversion of verbs into nouns happen? What do we gain from this?

Changes are fine but, as the old idiom says, why fix something if it isn’t broken? Why change the grammatical function of words? Personally I think a language has to evolve for the greater good, not to become impoverished and, more importantly, run the risk of losing its accuracy. Accuracy does indeed matter for good communication and, as far as Business Language Services is concerned, it matters for the quality of our translations. A badly written English text may well lead to interpretation and understanding problems and, ultimately, to a poor rendition into the target language, whether it be into Welsh, French, German, Spanish, Arabic or any other language we offer. If we are in doubt as to the meaning of a particular phrase or sentence in a document we translate on your behalf, please rest assured that we would always get back to you to clarify any ambiguity and thus avoid any poor rendition into the target language.

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