No let up in the spread of Itanglese, which continues to grow at a rate of +223%
Agostini Associati has carried out a second survey into the increasingly widespread phenomenon of Itanglese, which in recent years has seen Italian companies adopt an ever growing number of English terms in their written documents.
According to the investigation carried out in 2010 using 54 million words* worth of documents translated the previous year from Italian into other languages, the three most commonly used English terms in the corporate arena are, in order: SOCIAL, BUSINESS, and SMART, followed by Wellness, Fashion, Benchmarking, Digital, Brand, Network and Switch.
The types of documents containing the above terms are corporate by nature; indeed, Agostini translates for 70% of companies listed on the FTSE MIB and is the translation agency of choice for over 600 Italian and international companies.
It is increasingly evident that, in the workplace, Italians are more inclined to adopt fashionable English terms than use traditional Italian words.
“This year we’ve seen that the growth in ‘imported’ English terms has mirrored recent technological advancements: even in the translation of business documents, we have witnessed the increasing use of words relating to new digital tools, such as smartphones and the social media”, observes Alessandro Agostini, partner in AgostiniAssociati.it. “It is interesting to note how some English terms that we have ‘imported’ for technology products are often used and emphasised in advertising: a prime example of this is the word “smart”, originally imported in the mobile telephony field but now widely used in advertising in completely different sectors.”
The previous Itanglese survey in 2009 reported an average yearly rise of 96.6%, with the three most used words being Look, Business, and Fashion.
Here are the 10 most commonly used “Itanglese” words in the sample examined this year:
With the 150th anniversary of Italian Unification celebrated next year, the fashion for importing English words is showing no signs of abating and the Italian language is suffering as a result. Is the Italian language at risk of extinction?
A firm supporter of the Italian language, the Milan-basedtranslation agency carried out and published the first open study on ‘Itanglese’ in the second half of 2009, following this up with a provocative press release including various examples of the Anglicisation of Italian. Later came the launch, on 14 February 2010, of the “Itanglese code”: a short guide designed to encourage communicators to be a little more sparing in their use of Anglicisms. Agostini Associati’s initiative has also enjoyed the support of the Hon. Paola Frassinetti, Vice Chair of the Culture and Education Commission of the Italian Chamber of Deputies.
*The survey was carried on a sample of documents translated in the year terminating in July 2010 (translations from Italian into other languages for a total volume of 54 million words) compared with an equivalent sample of documents translated in the year ending July 2009 (translations from Italian into other languages for a total volume of 56 million words).