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The Macedonian language

The official language of Macedonia, spoken by 3 million people worldwide, is one of the most controversial languages in the world. The Macedonian language has a South Slavic tongue and boasts a rich tapestry of history and culture. Spoken primarily in the Republic of North Macedonia, it represents a linguistic bridge between East and West and between the ancient and the modern.

Origins and Brief History:

  • Macedonian is a member of the South Slavic group of the Indo-European language family. 
  • Its earliest written records date back to the Old Church Slavonic language, used by Saints Cyril and Methodius in the 9th century to translate the Bible.
  • Over the centuries, Macedonian has evolved and taken its modern form, distinguishable from its South Slavic neighbours, particularly Serbian, Bulgarian, and Croatian.
  • It was only in the 1940s that Macedonian was recognised as a distinct language, and a standardised version was developed, primarily based on the dialect spoken in the western part of the country.

Number of Speakers:

  • It’s estimated that around 1.4 to 2.5 million people speak Macedonian globally.
  • Most of these speakers reside in North Macedonia, but sizeable communities can be found in neighbouring countries and among the diaspora in places like Australia, Canada, and the USA.

Official Language Status:

  • Macedonian is the official language of the Republic of North Macedonia.
  • In regions of North Macedonia, where ethnic minorities make up more than 20% of the population, other languages can achieve co-official status alongside Macedonian. This is the case with Albanian in some municipalities.

Example of Text:

“Сите луѓе се раѓаат слободни и еднакви по достоинство и права.” 
Translation: “All human beings are born free and equal in dignity and rights.”

Usage and Influence:

  • Macedonian is primarily used in daily communication, literature, and media in North Macedonia.
  • The language has had a significant influence on the cultural and literary landscape of the Balkan region. Writers like Blaze Koneski have penned important works in Macedonian, contributing to its literary richness.

English Words Used in Macedonian:

Many globalisation-induced words have found their way into Macedonian. For instance:

  • “Компјутер” (Komjuter) – Computer
  • “Интернет” (Internet) – Internet
  • “Такси” (Taksi) – Taxi
  • “Хотел” (Hotel) – Hotel

Macedonian Words in English:

The influence of Macedonian on English is minimal. However, with globalisation and increased communication between cultures, some foods and cultural terms might find their way into English usage. An example is: “Ajvar”, – A type of pepper-based condiment made principally from red bell peppers.

In Summary:

The Macedonian language, while deeply rooted in the history of the Balkans, continues to evolve and adapt to the modern world. Its speakers in North Macedonia and abroad cherish it as a core identity element. The language’s continued usage in literature, media, and daily communication ensures its vibrant survival into the future. Whether in the busy streets of Skopje or the quiet corners of diaspora communities worldwide, Macedonian remains a living testament to the rich tapestry of Balkan history and culture.


Although the majority of Macedonian speakers reside in Macedonia itself, there are also several Macedonian-speaking populations in Albania, Bulgaria and Greece. Classified as a South Slavic language, some academics believe that Macedonian is not a language in its own right but a dialect of Bulgarian. Conversely, many academics in Macedonia believe that Bulgarian is a dialect of the Macedonian language.

Despite the disagreements between Bulgarian and Macedonian linguists, most linguists outside of the Balkans acknowledge both Bulgarian and Macedonian to be two separate languages. The controversy surrounding the Macedonian language means that it is vital for businesses who want to communicate their brand to the Macedonian people to ensure that they translate their content into Macedonian.

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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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