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The Hungarian language

Spoken by 15 million people worldwide, Hungarian is the official language of Hungary and is also spoken in Austria, Slovenia and Ukraine.

One of the official languages of the European Union, Hungarian is part of the Uralic language family and is very different to the languages of its neighbouring countries. Interestingly, a stone now in the Yarmouth County Museum in Nova Scotia, Canada, is thought to contain Old Hungarian inscriptions, potentially proving that Hungarian explorers had been to that area of the world before Columbus. Some linguists believe that Hungarian is the oldest language of all Euro-Asiatic languages.

Just like English, Hungarian does not have a grammatical gender. However, Hungarian is notoriously difficult to learn because of its complex grammar and vast differences from other European languages. Although Hungarian uses the Latin alphabet, there are several additional letters.

Origins and Brief History: 

  • Hungarian is a Uralic language, a member of the Finno-Ugric language family. 
  • While most European languages are Indo-European, Hungarian, Finnish, and Estonian, they represent a different linguistic tradition. 
  • The earliest Hungarian language form traces back to migrants from the Ural Mountains in today’s Russia who migrated westwards during the first millennium AD. 
  • Over time, through contacts with Slavic, Germanic and Turkic groups, Hungarian incorporated many loanwords. 

Number of Speakers: 

As of 2023, approximately 13 million people speak Hungarian worldwide. The vast majority of these speakers reside in Hungary, but significant communities also exist in neighbouring countries and diaspora communities around the globe.

Where it is an Official Language: 

  • Hungarian is the official language of Hungary. 
  • In addition, it has co-official status in some regions of neighbouring countries, including specific areas of Austria, Croatia, Romania (Transylvania), Serbia (Vojvodina), Slovakia and Slovenia, where substantial Hungarian-speaking minorities reside.

Example of Text:

Here’s an example of a sentence in Hungarian: “A magyar nyelv szép és összetett.” This translates to “The Hungarian language is beautiful and complex.”

Where and How It’s Used: 

  • Hungarian is primarily used in Hungary and neighbouring countries with Hungarian-speaking minorities. 
  • It’s used in all aspects of daily life, including education, business, media, and government. 
  • Hungarian is a unique language with complex grammar rules, including 18 noun cases and vowel harmony.

English Words Used in Hungarian: 

The Hungarian language has borrowed a number of words from English, especially in the areas of technology and popular culture. Some examples include ‘computer’ (komputer), ‘internet’, ‘jazz’, and ‘cocktail’. 

Hungarian Words in English: 

Very few Hungarian words have made their way into English, reflecting the relatively limited historical contact between English and Hungarian-speaking societies. However, one well-known example is the word ‘coach’, which comes from the Hungarian ‘kocsi’, referring initially to a type of horse-drawn carriage.


In conclusion, with its unique origins and complex grammar, Hungarian represents a distinct strand of Europe’s linguistic tapestry. It has resisted large-scale lexical borrowing from other languages, lending it a distinctive character, even while it has adapted to incorporate elements of modernity, including words borrowed from English. The richness and complexity of Hungarian, along with its intriguing history, make it a fascinating subject of study for linguists and language enthusiasts alike.


Brightlines offers a wide range of Hungarian translation services, including copywriting, voiceovers and production services.

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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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