Old English corresponds to the period when Germanic tribes were migrating to Britain. There are few early records of this period, but it is thought that the influence of Latin, old Norse and Anglo-Norman French (after the Norman conquest) began to influence Old English to the point where it became Middle English. Though relatively short, the Middle English period was a time of significant change, with continued influence from Latin and French. It was during this period that word order become more important as a component of English grammar. Modern English, which has now been in existence for over 500 years, saw the introduction of the printing press and its effects on English spelling. Another influential factor was overseas colonization and contact with other cultures, resulting in a variety of dialects in British colonies around the world.
The history of English can be divided into three distinct periods: Old English from 500 to 1100, Middle English from 1100 to 1485, and Modern English from 1485 to the present.
Today it has been estimated that English is the native language of some 350-400 million people across the globe. While all of these people speak English, there are regional differences which translators must be aware of when working into English (American English and British English variations in spelling and in terminology, for example). Non-native speakers of English find spelling to be illogical and irregular. This could be because spelling is more closely related to pronunciation of the 16th and 17th centuries than to modern pronunciation