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The Ukrainian language

The official language of Ukraine, but also used by some communities in Poland, Czech and Slovakia.

Brief History and Origins:

  • Ukrainian is a part of the East Slavic group of the larger Indo-European language family. Other members of this group include Russian and Belarusian.
  • Its roots can be traced back to Old East Slavic, the language spoken in the medieval state of Kievan Rus’ from the 10th to the 13th centuries.
  • Over time, while Russian and Belarusian were influenced by the Slavonic Church of the Moscow Orthodox Church, Ukrainian developed closer ties with Polish, Czech, and Slovak due to the geopolitical circumstances of the region.
  • The modern Ukrainian language, as we know it today, began taking shape in the 16th century, and by the 18th and 19th centuries, distinct Ukrainian literature and poetry began to emerge.

Number of Speakers:

  • Ukrainian is spoken by approximately 40 million people worldwide.
  • The vast majority of these speakers reside in Ukraine, where it is the native language for more than 67% of the population.

Official Language Status:

  • Ukrainian is the official state language of Ukraine.
  • All official documents, governmental proceedings, and education in Ukraine are conducted in Ukrainian.
  • In recent years, efforts have been made to promote and protect the usage of Ukrainian, especially in media and public life.

Example of Text:

English: “The sun shines brightly.”
Ukrainian: “Сонце яскраво світить.”


Within Ukraine: Ukrainian is widely spoken in daily life, in media broadcasts, literature, and official settings. It’s the medium of instruction in schools and universities.
Outside Ukraine: There are Ukrainian-speaking communities worldwide, especially in Russia, Canada, Brazil, and the United States. In these regions, Ukrainian is often used in community events, churches, and by media catering to the diaspora.

English Words in Ukrainian:

These are loanwords that have been adapted to fit Ukrainian phonetics and orthography. Their meanings remain the same as in English.

  • Телевізор (“televisor”) – Television
  • Інтернет (“internet”) – Internet
  • Бізнес (“biznes”) – Business

Ukrainian Words in English:

  • Babushka: This is actually a Russian term for “grandmother”, but it’s often mistakenly thought to be Ukrainian due to the cultural overlap. In Ukrainian, it would be “бабуся” (babusya).
  • Pysanka: Refers to the Ukrainian art of “Easter egg” decoration. The term has been used in English, especially among communities celebrating the tradition.

In Conclusion:

Ukrainian is a rich and ancient language with deep historical roots. Its journey from the times of Kievan Rus’ to the modern-day nation of Ukraine shows resilience and evolution. As the global diaspora of Ukrainians continues to grow, the language carries with it a tapestry of culture, history, and identity that is recognised and celebrated worldwide.

Ukrainian is thought by some to be one of the most beautiful languages in the world.
It isn’t a language that international businesses can discount as unimportant.
In fact, Ukrainian is the second most spoken Slavic language, after Russian.

Written with a Cyrillic-based alphabet, the Ukrainian language differs significantly from English. Interestingly the most widely used letter in the Ukrainian alphabet is “п”. Most of the words start with this letter! The most rarely used letter of the Ukrainian alphabet is “ф”.

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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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