Switzerland is famous as a multilingual country, with more than half of the population speaking German as their first language, almost a quarter speaking French, and a smaller portion speaking Italian. But there’s another language in Switzerland, a fourth official language that’s often overlooked, spoken by less than one percent of the population—and that’s Romansh.
With only around 60,000 speakers, Romansh is an endangered minority language, but it’s a cultural treasure of Switzerland, recognized as a national language. In some Romansh-speaking communities, Romansh is used as the language of instruction at schools, although in others, Romansh and German are used equally, or German is the main language of instruction, with Romansh as a subject. UNESCO rates the language as endangered, which means it’s important to preserve the language—and that’s what we’re aiming to assist with through our new Romansh translation team.
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Romansh: Switzerland’s unique national language
Romansh is spoken in the southeastern region of Switzerland, surrounded by Italy and Austria, in the multilingual canton of the Grisons. It’s a Romance language, descended from the Vulgar Latin spoken in the Roman province of Raetia, influenced by the ancient Rhaetian language, about which little is known. Today’s Romansh is divided into five dialects—Sursilvan, Vallader, Putèr, Surmiran, and Sutsilvan—with a controversial pan-regional variety called Rumantsch Grischun introduced in the 1980s.
Grammatically, Romansh is similar to other Romance languages, but it’s been substantially influenced by the German speakers that surround it. For example, while the default word order is subject-verb-object, auxiliary constituents in the sentence—such as time references like “tomorrow” or subordinate clauses—can come at the beginning of a sentence, in which case the verb comes next, followed by the subject. This tendency is not found in most modern Romance languages, but it’s ingrained in German. Otherwise, like in most Romance languages, Romansh has a complicated verb conjugation system that’s marked for the subject, as well as grammatical gender and corresponding definite articles that change depending on the gender. Romansh is unique in that it has two types of plural forms, though: a regular plural and a collective plural, which denotes a mass of the given noun as a whole. Since our Romansh translators are native speakers, you don’t have to worry yourself with all the grammatical complications, however.
Let our Romansh translation team help you with whatever you need.
We’d be delighted to help you with your Romansh translation needs—whatever they may be. Our team consists of native Romansh speakers who are passionate about their language, hailing from different locales in the Grisons. We cover all five dialects of Romansh—Sursilvan, Vallader, Putèr, Surmiran, and Sutsilvan—so just let us know which dialect you’d like to work with. Our translators work with documents both to and from Romansh, so the translation direction is also up to you.
Flexibility is important to us, so we’ve built our Romansh translation team to be as flexible as possible—even though the total number of Romansh speakers is low. We can accommodate clients looking to translate educational materials into Romansh (in any subject!), which can support Romansh-language education. We can accommodate businesspeople seeking translation services of their organization’s marketing collateral into Romansh to better engage the locals in their community. We can accommodate content creators who are making everything from books, short stories, and poetry to websites, games, and apps with translation to or from Romansh, helping them share Romansh tales or widen the body of literature available in Romansh. In short, we aim to accommodate anyone looking for Romansh translation services.
We’d love to help you with your Romansh translation project. Contact us today and place an order to get started!