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The Greek language

The official language of Greece and one of the official languages of Cyprus, Greek is spoken by around 13 million people worldwide.

The Greek language is one of the oldest spoken languages in the world, with a documented history spanning over 34 centuries. Its rich history, wide influence, and unique characteristics have made it an essential aspect of world culture and linguistics.

According to some estimates, about 30% of our English vocabulary consists of words that have a Classical Greek origin, the majority of which are scientific or technical. Despite the well-used phrase, ‘It’s all Greek to me!’, Greek is actually relatively easy to learn to read, as most of the sounds are already familiar to English speakers. Unlike most modern Romance languages used in Europe, Greek has three grammatical genders: feminine, masculine and neuter. Forming an independent branch of the Indo-European language family, Greek has influenced various languages throughout the world.

Origins and Brief History:

  • Ancient Greek, the first known form of Greek, was spoken and written in Greece and Asia Minor from around the 9th century BC. 
  • It evolved over time into different dialects, including Attic Greek, which became the dominant dialect by the 5th century BC due to Athens’s cultural and political prominence. 
  • Attic Greek later evolved into Koine Greek after Alexander the Great’s conquests in the 4th century BC, spreading across his empire and becoming the lingua franca of the Eastern Mediterranean and the Middle East. 
  • In the Byzantine era, Koine Greek transformed into Medieval Greek, which in turn became Modern Greek, spoken from the 15th century to the present day.

Number of Speakers:

  • Modern Greek is spoken by approximately 13.5 million people worldwide, most of which reside in Greece and Cyprus.
  • There are also significant Greek-speaking communities in other countries such as Italy, Albania, Turkey, and the United States, as well as among the Greek diaspora worldwide.

Official Language Status:

  • Greek is an official language in two countries: Greece and Cyprus. 
  • It’s also one of the 24 official languages of the European Union.

Example of Text:

An example of a Greek text is “Η Ελληνική γλώσσα είναι μία από τις παλαιότερες γνωστές γλώσσες”, which translates to “The Greek language is one of the oldest known languages”.

Example of Audio:

A common Greek phrase is “Γειά σου” (Yia sou), which means “Hello” or “Goodbye”. 

Use and Application:

  • Greek is widely used in everyday life, business, media, literature, and education in Greece and Cyprus. 
  • Beyond these regions, Greek is used in academia, particularly in fields such as philosophy, mathematics, physics, and medicine, reflecting the language’s historical role in European intellectual life.

English Words of Greek Origin:

Many English words have Greek roots. For example, the word “philosophy” comes from the Greek “φιλοσοφία” (Philosophia), meaning “love of wisdom”; “democracy” from “δημοκρατία” (dēmokratía), meaning “rule of the people”; and “telephone” from “τηλέφωνο” (tēléphōno), meaning “far sound”. 

Greek Words in English:

English has absorbed many Greek words into its lexicon. These include “kudos”, “metropolis”, “rhetoric”, and “chronicle”, among many others. 

The Greek language’s longevity, historical importance, and linguistic influence place it as a cornerstone in the development of Western civilization. Whether encountered on holiday to the Greek islands, in the terminology of a science class, or the etymology of our modern lexicon, the traces of Greek are a testament to its enduring impact.

Here at Brightlines, we have considerable experience in Greek translation and have worked with brands such as Canon, Ford and Getty Images to translate their content for Greek-speaking audiences. Our services include consultancy, quality assurance and copywriting.

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Our translation services - FAQ

Do you use native translators?

Yes, always. All our translators are native speakers and most are still resident in their native country. We pride ourselves on ensuring that all Brightlines’ translators are native. We do not accept applications from non-native candidates or allow them to register on our online recruitment database. All our translators are rigorously tested.

How long will the translations take?

The turnaround for the translation will depend on the word count. As a rough guide, assume that the translators can comfortably process about 2500 words of non-specialised text per day. Proofreading can effectively be completed on a basis of 4000-6000 words a day. Our minimum turnaround time is usually about three days, although it is possible to shorten this if you are in a rush for the final files and we will always be happy to discuss this with you.

What is the variation in your translators’ experience and qualifications? Are they native speakers? Will the cost increase if we use a more experienced translator?

All our translators have to go through a series of tests to make sure they are as good as they say they are, and only if they pass are they allowed to work for Brightlines. There is quite a range of experience and qualifications, but all translators have a minimum of five years’ experience. All translators translate into their mother-tongue without exception and are generally based in-country so they are up-to-date with the local language. We match translators with projects/clients depending on the subject matter, and most of our translators have industry experience in their speciality – there is no better experience than being immersed professionally in the industry they specialise in. Our costs are based on translator experience, speciality (i.e. medical, creative, scientific) and the language choice.

Which languages can you translate into?

We have an extensive database with hundreds of trusted and tested translators covering all commercial languages. If you cannot see the language or dialect you need please ask.

I don’t know the word count; can you base the quote on the number of pages?

Our pricing structure is based on a rate-per-word, but we can estimate from a page count. If we can’t see the source document then we would usually estimate between 300 – 500 words a page depending on the density of the text and the presence of photos and images.

Does the translation need to be proofread?

Brightlines is an ISO 9001:2015 certified company. This means that quality is safeguarded. We adhere to the “four-eyes principle” and translations are always checked by a second professional proofreader (who is not the translator). If the translation is for internal use and reference purposes only (i.e. not to be published, distributed or used in a court of law), or you simply don’t wish to have proofreading, we can remove the proofreading stage.

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If you need Greek translations, get in touch with our team, or get a quick quote.