Germans call their country Deutschland, a term originally coined to distinguish the language of the common people, German, from Latin and the Romance language descended from it. However, though the language ties the German nation together, the land abounds with dialectical variations, often with such stark differences that mutual intelligibility is impossible. Each region speaks its own form of German, with its own pronunciations, lexicon, and even grammar, and Standard German is used as a lingua franca to bind speakers of these disparate dialects together. Though the most well-known German dialect is Bavarian, Plattdeutsch is another major dialect in the language.
Because dialects are often not well-defined, whether for linguistic or political reasons, it can be difficult to calculate the number of speakers, but Plattdeutsch, literally “Low German,” boasts an estimated 4.35 to 7.15 million native speakers, with possibly up to 10 million second-language speakers joining the fray. Debate rages as to whether Plattdeutsch is a language or dialect, with some linguists even splitting Plattdeutsch up into multiple separate, mutually unintelligible languages. This tricky linguistic situation makes it difficult to translate Plattdeutsch, and most translation services opt to avoid the language—but here at TranslationServices.com, we’re proud to take on the challenge.
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What is Plattdeutsch, and how is it different from Standard German?
Plattdeutsch is native to northern Germany, even recognized as a minority language in the states of Schleswig-Holstein, Hamburg, Lower Saxony, Mecklenburg-Vorpommern, and Brandenburg, as well as the northeastern part of the Netherlands. Interestingly, Plattdeutsch-speaking communities can also be found throughout the Americas, even gaining status as a recognized minority language in Bolivia, Paraguay, and Brazil, largely due to Germanic Mennonite populations in the Americas.
Plattdeutsch differs from Standard German not only in its pronunciation but also in its grammar. Plattdeutsch is similar to Dutch, Frisian, English, and Scots in its grammar, with the variants spoken in Germany retaining more similarities to Standard German. The language features the three genders that German is also known for, but whereas German has four cases, Plattdeutsch typically features only two—and even then, the oblique case may only be marked in the masculine. In German, adjectives necessarily decline to agree with the number, gender, and case of the respective noun, with several forms possible, but in Plattdeutsch, depending on the dialect, adjectives may not decline at all.
What would you like translated to or from Plattdeutsch?
A German translator can’t provide a Plattdeutsch translation—the languages are simply too different. So, if you need a Plattdeutsch translation, you’ll need to rely on a dedicated Plattdeutsch translation expert, and it’s not easy to come by professional Plattdeutsch translation teams. To make Plattdeutsch translation more accessible, we’ve built a diverse team of native-speaking Plattdeutsch translators eager to help you expand the linguistic reach of your content.
Whether you’re translating to or from Plattdeutsch, we’re eager to help. With our diverse roster of translators specializing in different areas, we can easily translate all sorts of content—corporate, academic, creative, digital, and more! For example, if you have a historical document or work of literature in Plattdeutsch and you want it translated, send it our way, and we’ll help you share Plattdeutsch culture and history with a new audience. Maybe you’re a business in Germany or the Netherlands, and you want to engage your Plattdeutsch-speaking customers—a Plattdeutsch translation of your marketing copy can do wonders. Or maybe you’re a language activist passionate about preserving Plattdeutsch—we can help you translate educational and entertainment content, including books, poems, apps, websites, and games, into Plattdeutsch, helping speakers get more out of their language and encouraging learners to pick it up.
For any kind of Plattdeutsch translation project, just turn to us. Send us a message now to get started!