The Slovak language
Slovak is a rich and intriguing language with roots that delve deep into Central European history. It has become the primary mode of communication for millions and has evolved in fascinating ways over time. Below, we delve into the Slovak language’s history, prevalence, and intersections with English.
Brief History of Origins:
- Slavic Roots: Slovak is a West Slavic language, which places it in the same family as Czech, Polish, and other neighbouring languages. Its origins can be traced back to Proto-Slavic, a language spoken over 1,500 years ago.
- Old Slovak: By the 10th century, distinct regional variations had formed, leading to the emergence of Old Slovak. This era’s manuscripts provide us with the earliest written evidence of the language.
- Influence of Czech: During the Austro-Hungarian Empire and the subsequent creation of Czechoslovakia in 1918, Czech considerably influenced Slovak, leading to a period of mutual intelligibility between the two languages.
- Modern Slovak: Post World War II, and especially after the Velvet Divorce in 1993, which saw the split of Czechoslovakia into the Czech Republic and Slovakia, Slovak began to solidify its status and identity as a separate language. This period marked a renewed interest in preserving the uniqueness of the Slovak language.
Number of Speakers:
Currently, there are approximately 5.5 million native speakers of Slovak.
Where It Is An Official Language:
- Slovakia: Naturally, Slovak is the official language of Slovakia.
- European Union (EU): With Slovakia’s accession to the EU in 2004, Slovak also became one of the official languages of the EU and used by Hungary, Montenegro and Serbia.
Example of Text:
English: “The sun shines bright today.”
Slovak: “Dnes svieti slnko jasne.”
Where It Is Used and How:
- Everyday Communication: In Slovakia, Slovak is used in daily conversations, in schools, businesses, media, and governance.
- Media: Slovak television, radio stations, newspapers, and magazines use the Slovak language primarily. Many also offer versions in minority languages.
- Education: The education system in Slovakia operates predominantly in Slovak, but there are schools and classes for national minorities where other languages may be used.
- Literature and Culture: Slovak literature, from poetry to prose, is vast and varied. Renowned authors like Dominik Tatarka and Ján Kollár have contributed immensely to Slovak’s literary heritage.
English Words Used in Slovak:
- Internet: Retains the same pronunciation and meaning.
- Computer: Pronounced as ‘komputer’ in Slovak.
- Hotel: While the Slovak language has its word for hotel, “hotel” is also widely understood and used, especially in urban areas.
Slovak Words Absorbed into English:
Truth be told, there aren’t many Slovak words that have made their way into everyday English. However, cultural exchanges have introduced foods, dances, and other Slovak traditions to English-speaking countries. One example might be certain dishes, like “halušky” (though it hasn’t become as commonly recognised as words like ‘sushi’ from Japanese).
The Slovak language, with its rich history and unique characteristics, stands as a testament to the vibrant culture and resilient spirit of the Slovak people. Its interactions with English reflect the ongoing globalisation and cultural exchange happening in our world today. Whether you’re a linguist, a traveller, or just someone with an insatiable curiosity, delving into Slovak can be a rewarding experience.
Here at Brightlines, we only use Slovak translation specialists who have used Slovak since birth. Our expertise in Slovak means that we have worked with brands such as Colart, RIM and Honda to localise their content and communicate with Slovak speakers worldwide.
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.