Top 7 language pairs to take note of in the translation industry

Top 7 language pairs to take note of in the translation industry

What are language pairs?

Language pairs refer to two languages that a translator is able to work within translating one to the other. One example is the ability to translate English to French. Thus, the translator’s language pair is English – French.

Translators who can translate one language to another can either work with a single pair, or both pairs. For example, one may be able to accurately do translations from English to French and French to English at the same time. Then he is said to have two language pairs. But some translators can only do one way, say, from French to English but not English to French.

In mentioning language pairs, the source language being translated is mentioned first, while the target language or output of translated work is mentioned last. So, English-French is a language pair of someone who can translate English into French.

Good translators are comfortable in understanding the source language and translating it into the target language. However, it is possible that when the source and target languages are flipped, the translator no longer feels confident in writing the opposite language. This is why some translators can only work with a single pair.

It is essential that a good translator feels comfortable in the language pair he works with. He has to have a good grasp of the language, know the basics of proper sentence construction, and be able to correctly understand what he is translating.


Language pairs refer to two languages that a translator is able to work within translating one to the other.

Some language statistics

As more and more companies are going global, professional translators are becoming busier, too. Globalization is necessitating the translation of various documents and content into many different languages. Some of these languages are the most difficult ones to work with.

Translation is simply a complex process. There are more than 7,000 languages spoken around the world today. Some of these are less known and less spoken than others. The more popular ones are spoken by a huge percentage of people around the world, and more and more people are learning these languages every day.

Because of the number of people speaking these languages, companies are localizing their businesses to reach them and establish their presence in these markets.

Among the top seven languages spoken around the world are English, Mandarin, Hindi, Spanish, French, Arabic, and Bengali. But common sense dictates that for an international business to reach more people globally, they have to translate and localize their business in as many languages as they possibly can. There are about 23 languages that are spoken by over half of the world’s population.


Best language pairs to learn

The majority of language translation jobs require translating English into a target language. This is because English is still the most widely used language in the world, with 1,132 million speakers. Since emerging markets are multilingual, companies who are using English as their default language should be availing translation services for these language pairs which are currently the most in-demand:

  1. English – Spanish

Spanish is spoken in twenty-two countries located on four continents, and it is the world’s second most studied language. It is also one of the easiest foreign languages for English speakers to learn. If you’re interested in a career as a translator, you’d better add Spanish to the list of languages you can speak.

  1. English – Chinese

This comes as no surprise since Mandarin Chinese is the second most spoken language in the world, with 1,117 million speakers. It is the official language of China, Taiwan, and Singapore. It is also designated as one of the six official languages of the United Nations.

  1. English – French

French is another valuable international language, with over 280 million speakers. It is spoken in different parts of the world including France, Canada, and African countries Senegal, Benin, Burkina Faso, Togo, Seychelles, Madagascar among others.

  1. English- German

The most spoken language in the European Union, it is known for its endlessly long words. It has 132 million speakers. It is the sole official language of both Germany and Austria, and also spoken in Switzerland, Belgium, Luxembourg, Liechtenstein, Netherlands, Poland, Sweden, Denmark, and other European countries. Another important reason for learning German is that Germany is the fourth largest economy in the world.

  1. English – Russian

Russian is one of the most spread out languages spoken across the world, even outside the world. This is because Russian is one prerequisite for foreign astronauts. Because of the country’s prominence in space technology, astronauts are required to learn a certain amount of the Russian language. It’s one of the trickiest languages to learn, too.

  1. English – Portuguese

Portuguese is the sole official language of Portugal, Brazil, Angola, Guinea-Bissau, Cape Verde, East Timor, Equatorial Guinea, Mozambique, Macau, São Tomé and Príncipe. It has approximately 250 million speakers and is the sixth most spoken language in the world.


The majority of language translation jobs require translating English into a target language.

  1. English – Japanese

Japanese is another language that rules the online world. Japan is the third largest economy leading the world in the automobile and technology industries. This makes Japanese one of the most indispensable global business languages.


These are the top seven language pairs in the business world that every translation service should take note of. Having professional translators who are well trained in these languages would mean a steady flow of work in the coming years. Circle Translations boasts of a qualified roster of translators who deliver quality and accurate translation services in these language pairs.