People are often surprised by the fact that I can easily understand words in Italian, Spanish or French without any prior language course in these foreign languages.
This happens because languages are grouped into families according to geographic and economic considerations. Thus we can easily understand words in languages from the same family. In our case, Romanian belongs to the Romance or Neo-Latin languages together with Italian, Sardinian, French, Provençal, Rhaeto-Romance, Spanish, Catalan and Portuguese.
Therefore, we have the opportunity of learning sister languages of the mother tongue more easily than a language belonging to another family (e.g.: English is part of the Germanic languages and has many similarities to German).
For a translator, knowledge of several sister languages is an advantage which, combined with learning a language from a different family, will ensure professional success. However, the effort to learn languages of different origin is by no means small, as they have different phonetic systems, as well as different lexical and grammatical structures.
The similarities between sister languages become useful when the translator needs to adapt the translation to preserve the meaning of word groups, expressions and phrases. In related languages there is always a shared, inherited word stock, meaning a group of words which closely resemble each other, both in form, as well as in meaning (e.g.: the Latin word dicĕre became in Romanian a zice, in Italian – dire, in French – dire, in Spanish – decir, in Portuguese – dizer). You can clearly see the similarity between the terms and the ease of translation.
All these Romance languages are subordinate to a single mother language, Latin, but each has evolved parallel to society, becoming a social phenomenon which defines a cultural, ethnographic and economic unit.