Why choose ITC for your Slovak translation projects?

Over the years, ITC has developed a strong network of translators whose native language is Slovak. These linguists have passed several rounds of tests and are evaluated regularly. In addition, the ITC project managers have drawn up language guides to help translators follow the specific rules that apply to Slovak.

History of the language: translation into Slovak

Slovak is the language used in the Slovak Republic (Slovakia), which became an independent state on January 1, 1993.

Slovak is a Slavic language, and as such it belongs to the Indo-European language family and West Slavic group of languages.

The rise of the Slovak language, similar to that of other Slavic languages, can be traced back to the 6th and 7th century.

In 863, Michael III, the Byzantine Emperor, on the request of Prince Rastislav of Great Moravia, sent two missionary brothers from Thessaloniki, Saint Constantine (who later adopted the name Cyril) and Saint Methodius to preach Christianity. They were very successful in spreading the ‘Old Church’ Slavonic language in this region through the translation of the Bible and its promotion. The language itself consisted of the Glagolitic alphabet, which was based on the small letters of the Greek alphabet. Between the tenth and fourteenth centuries, Latin was used as the liturgical, literary, administrative and judicial language. Meanwhile, the Czech language was used for legal and administrative purposes by the Slovaks, who could not speak German or Latin. Historical development strengthened the use of the Czech language even further.

Naturally, three dialects of the Slovak language (Western, Central and Eastern) have been passed orally from one generation to the next, which were later to serve as the basis of a codified language. Anton Bernolák (1762 – 1813), a Catholic priest, was the first to codify the Slovak language (latter called ‘bernolákovčina’) based on the phonemic principle, “write as you hear”. However, this version did not become accepted on a nation-wide level. The Slovak literary language based on the Central Slovak dialect was codified in 1843 by Ľudovit Štúr (1815 – 1856).

Specific features of the Slovak language

Pronunciation is based on the phonemic principle as mentioned above. Slovak uses Latin script with small modifications that include the four diacritics (ˇ, ´, ¨, ˆ) placed above certain letters (e.g. človek = man with the first sound pronounced as t͡ʃ; ráno = morning with á pronounced as aː). Specific vowels include ä, the archaic (or dialectical) variant (e.g. päť = five, päsť = fist) pronounced as [æ]; whereas the standard pronunciation today is [ɛ]; or ô (e.g. kôň = horse, skôr = earlier) pronounced as u̯ɔ.

In the standard language, the stress is always on the first syllable of a word (or on the preceding preposition). This is not the case in certain dialects. Prepositions form a single prosodic unit with the following word, unless the word is either long (four syllables or more) or the preposition stands at the beginning of a sentence. The Slovak language contains no articles. The demonstrative pronoun, ten (fem: tá, neuter: to) may be used in front of the noun in situations where a definitive context must be indicated.