Quick—what language do they speak in Germany? Naturally, anyone would answer with “German”—and, of course, they’d be right. But as with anything in linguistics, it’s not quite that simple. In fact, German is divided into a myriad of dialects that are often mutually unintelligible, with speakers in Germany requiring subtitles to understand Swiss German. But there’s another, entirely separate language spoken in Germany as well, and that’s Sorbian.
With Central European territory having bounced around among different national administrations over the centuries, it’s only natural that the linguistic situation would grow complicated, too. Sorbian isn’t one of Germany’s dozens of German dialects—rather, it’s a Slavic language related to nearby Polish and Czech. Sorbian is divided into two variants, Upper Sorbian and Lower Sorbian, and together, both Sorbian languages are spoken by roughly 20,000 native speakers. However, despite efforts from the German government to recognize and preserve both Sorbian languages, the situation remains dire, with Sorbian at danger of dying out. This situation keeps most translation agencies away, as they’d prefer to focus on the larger languages in the area—Germany, Polish, and Czech, for example. But we at TranslationServices.com are proud to have our very own Sorbian translation team, ready to tackle your translation needs.
Contact us today if you’d like to see a free quote for our Sorbian translation services!
Sorbian: the indigenous Slavic language in Germany
Sorbian is spoken in the historical region of Lusatia, found in eastern Germany and crossing into Poland. The two varieties of Sorbian are separated geographically, with Lower Sorbian used by 7,000 people in Germany’s state of Brandenburg and Upper Sorbian spoken by another 13,000 people in the state of Saxony. Upper Sorbian is sometimes called Wendish, an homage to the Wends, a Slavic people who historically inhabited the region. Lower and Upper Sorbian exhibit some differences but are largely mutually intelligible.
As a Slavic language, Sorbian is much more similar to Polish and Czech than German. With seven cases compared to German’s four, Sorbian can be said to be more grammatically complex, although the vocative case is only found in the Upper Sorbian variant. Another notable feature of Sorbian is its use of the dual number, with nouns, pronouns, adjectives, and verbs featuring distinct forms for singular, dual, and plural. While the dual number was historically common in Indo–European languages, today very few languages retain this feature at all, let alone to the degree that Sorbian does.
Our Sorbian translators can’t wait to work with you.
Though Sorbian is often overlooked in favor of German, the native-speaking Sorbs on our translation team possess a burning passion for their language and love helping clients from Germany and beyond navigate the language barrier between English and Sorbian. With translators serving both Upper Sorbian and Lower Sorbian, we’re proud to translate both to and from the unique Slavic language, so whatever your reason for requiring Sorbian translation services, don’t hesitate to turn to us.
Recognizing that there are many reasons why someone may require Sorbian translation services, we’ve worked to make our team as flexible as possible. For example, if you’re moving your organization into the Lusatia region in Brandenburg or Saxony, translating your promotional documents into Sorbian can be an innovative and effective way to entice the local public. We also love helping clients translate educational content into Sorbian, as this allows local children to learn in their native language, and we’re excited to translate literary or digital materials into Sorbian, which serves as a powerful way to keep Sorbian alive and well in the 21st century. For those seeking Sorbian-to-English translation services, we’d be delighted to translate any historical documents or traditional Sorbian stories you may have, as well as any contemporary writings you’d like to share—whatever message you want to transmit, we’re here to help.
Our Sorbian translators are at your disposal, so why not get started on your Sorbian translation project today? Take the first step and shoot us a message!