Though Belgium is often thought of as a francophone country, French is the native language of less than half of Belgium’s population. The majority of the country (around 60%) speaks what is often considered a dialect of Dutch. However, more accurately, the language is called Flemish, spoken by around 1 million people in the region of Flanders, which encompasses northern Belgium, southern Netherlands (known as Zeelandic Flanders), and the northern tip of France’s Hauts-de-France region. Within Flemish is an additional language, called West Flemish, spoken in Belgium’s West Flanders province as well as neighboring regions in the Netherlands and France.
Even though West Flemish is widely spoken in a flourishing province of a rich Western democracy, it’s classified as a “vulnerable” endangered language by UNESCO, since it’s often considered a dialect of Flemish or Dutch and thus doesn’t receive special recognition. Therefore, if you’re looking for translation services specific to West Flemish, they could be hard to find. Luckily, you’ve found one of the few translation agencies that offers specialized West Flemish translation services: TranslationServices.com.
Why not message us today and inquire about a quote for a West Flemish translation? Quotes are free!
How does West Flemish differ from Standard Dutch?
One of the starkest ways through which this West Germanic language differentiates itself from its larger cousin Standard Dutch is pronunciation. West Flemish pronunciation is more similar to Afrikaans, a creole language in South Africa that mixes Dutch with indigenous African languages, than to Standard Dutch. Vocabulary can also differ, with West Flemish showcasing far more loanwords from English and French than Standard Dutch. False friends between West Flemish and Standard Dutch can also cause confusion among speakers.
Finally, the grammar can be quite different as well. In Standard Dutch, most plural nouns are formed with the suffix -en, but West Flemish often uses -s, like in English. However, younger West Flemish speakers are using -en more and more, given the heavy influence of Standard Dutch. West Flemish also frequently uses a double subject, with the subject words on either side of the verb (e.g., ‘K èn ekik da nie gedoan, lit. “I have I that not done,” meaning “I have not done that”). This leads to the West Flemish terms for “yes” and “no” undergoing conjugation to correspond to the initial subject word (e.g., joak/nink for the first-person singular and jow/niw for the first-person plural).
Not only is West Flemish a fascinating language, but it’s also an important cultural artifact of the people of West Flanders. Our West Flemish translation team is here to provide professional translation services this population deserves.
Wide-ranging West Flemish translation services for all kinds of needs
Our West Flemish translators hail from all over West Flanders and the adjacent regions of the Netherlands and France, speaking West Flemish as their mother tongue. They’re determined to see their language continue to thrive in the future and are thus passionate about translating West Flemish—whether that means translating to or from the language. We can translate West Flemish stories and historical documents into English for worldwide dissemination, and we can translate English-language business materials, surveys, books, websites, games, and more into West Flemish to allow native speakers to enjoy content in their own language.
So, whether you need translation to or from West Flemish, just send us a message and explain what you’re looking for!