Tag Archives: Polish

Eastern Europe – Polish and Slavonic languages a speciality

Are you hoping to expand your business into new markets?

For anyone considering business expansion, Central and Eastern Europe constitute an exciting market.  Important developments are taking place in commerce, science and medicine, spurred on by strengthening ties within the European Economic Area. Many of the countries of Eastern Europe became members of the European Union in two waves, the Czech Republic, Hungary, Poland, Slovakia and Slovenia in 2004, followed by Bulgaria and Romania in 2007, and lastly by Croatia in 2013, with some of the later countries finally achieving full migration rights in 2014.  Other countries (Albania, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Kosovo, Macedonia, Montenegro and Serbia) are at varying stages of the negotiation process, whilst Armenia, Georgia and Moldova have all expressed interest. As Europe gradually emerges from the effects of the recent recession, economic activity across the region is steadily picking up. All this means a growing customer base and new opportunities for trade.

Slavic languages map

Slavic languages map

How can we help?

Linguamax is proud to have a particularly strong pool of language specialists for Eastern European languages. Our Management Team includes native speakers of Polish, with many years of experience in successfully arranging and overseeing diverse and demanding language projects, and our highly qualified Eastern European translators include legal, medical, technical and financial experts, who of course translate into their mother tongue.

Some of our most recent projects include:

Translation into Russian and Czech of product specifications

Translation of medical reports from Polish to English

Translation of clinical trial questionnaires into Hungarian, Bulgarian and Czech, with proofreading

Translation of insurance documents from Russian to English

Translation into Bosnian of legal communications

Translation of financial documents from Serbian to English


Which languages are spoken in the area?

Slavic or Slavonic languages

Predominant amongst the languages of Eastern Europe are those belong to the Slavic or Slavonic group. They show strong similarities, but each language has its own marked characteristics.

The Slavic or Slavonic languages can be divided up into broad families:

South Slavic: including Serbo-Croatian, Slovene and Bulgarian-Macedonian

West Slavic: including Czech, Slovak and Polish

East Slavic: including Russian, Ukrainian and Belarussian

These Slavic languages also share some common attributes with the neighbouring Baltic languages comprising Lithuanian and Latvian.

Since the break-up of the former Soviet Union, and subsequently Yugoslavia and Czechoslovakia, individual Slavic dialects have become identified as the official languages of the newly formed states, whilst some countries have more than one official language. As a consequence translations may need to be specifically adapted for the target audience in particular countries. Our native translators can ensure that you are genuinely speaking the language of your client or customer.

Geographically, the Eastern European area is also shared with other non-Slavic languages such as Romanian, Estonian, Hungarian and German. In the neighbouring Caucasus, Turkic languages are spoken in Azerbaijan and Armenia, whilst the distinctive language of Georgia is of unknown origin.


A further complication is the use of different scripts. Cyrillic script is used to write all East Slav languages plus Bulgarian, Macedonian and Serbian. However other languages such as Polish and Czech use Latin script together with special diacritic signs to represent particular sounds.

Just to confuse matters, Cyrillic script is also used by several non-Slavic languages: Kazakh, Uzbek, Kyrgyz and Tajik, as well as Mongolian, so it may not always be easy to identify the language of a document if the source is not specified!


What are the particular challenges of translation between Slavonic languages and English?


As a translator between Polish and English, I was asked about the translation challenges posed by the differences between the two languages.

The main difference is grammar, which is significantly more complex in Polish, with different suffixes added to words (nouns, verbs, adjectives, adverbs etc.) in sentences, depending on a particular case, tense, person or gender. And unlike just a couple of mostly regular suffixes in English (-ed for verbs in past tense or -s for nouns in plural), the suffixes in Polish are numerous and different for each 7 noun cases, 3 verb tenses, 6 persons and 3 genders. This may be troublesome for a non-native translator of Polish and will require a great attention to detail.

Polish is also more sensitive when it comes to the use of language and style. Written Polish seems to be more formal comparing to English and when translating one must avoid repetitions, ensure proper collocations and carefully adapt the language to a given register.

English vocabulary is of a larger volume, there is a greater specificity of words, which in the absence of equivalents in Polish must be paraphrased. This often expands the volume of translated text and may pose a problem when the space is an important factor (e.g. subtitling).

Polish business culture and language

Many Polish managers and directors are familiar with Western European business etiquette and culture. Polish businesspeople tend to be young, well educated, and fluent in English, but there are also traditional managers and directors who started their business careers during the communist era and tend not to speak English. These businesspeople may find the modern business environment a challenge to them.


There is little difference between business meetings in Poland and elsewhere in Europe. However, try to avoid being overly familiar, particularly during an initial meeting. When meeting someone for the first time you should introduce yourself using both first and last name, shake hands and exchange business cards.

When writing to senior managers in Poland, use “Dear Mr Last name” – never Dear First Name.  When your relationships with local contacts develop, you can take a less formal approach.

Hand gestures are an integral part of conversation in Poland. However, little significance is placed on specific gestures and you do not need to worry about inadvertently causing offence.

Polish business people wear suits for business meetings. You should dress well for a meeting as it shows that you value the opportunity to meet them.


English is widely spoken by young people but Polish language interpreters may be required for business meetings conducted outside the major cities. Even if you use an interpreter for the substance of your meeting, a few words of the Polish language will help you make a good impression.

Below are some commonly-used phrases:

English Polish Pronunciation  
Hello Cześć Cheshch
Good day/morning Dzień dobry Dzyen dobri
Good evening Dobry wieczór Dobri vyechoor
Goodbye Do widzenia Do veedzenyah
Yes / no Tak / nie Tahk / nye
Please / thank you Proszę /dziękuję Prosheh /dzyenkooyeh
Excuse me Przepraszam Psheprasham
My name is… Nazywam się… Nazivam syeh…

Easter Around the World

DSC_0107-01Easter is one of the most important festivals in the Christian calendar celebrated throughout the world. There are a few things, such as the Easter eggs, bunnies and chocolates that are common to Easter celebrations in most countries. There are, however, some local traditions in different parts of the world.

France celebrates Easter with a lot of enthusiasm. Known as Pâques in French, Easter is one of the major festivals in the country. France has held on to its traditions by giving eggs (chocolate nowadays) on Easter day, which is related to the renewal of nature in spring time. It has also been related to the end of fast period, a period during which no eggs could be eaten, creating abundance thereafter. Louis XIV gave eggs gilded with gold to his sycophants. They were filled with “surprises” and the tradition remains until today. It is also the symbol of resurrection in Christian religions.

Dominated by the Christian faith, Italy celebrates Easter with great fanfare. Known as Pasqua in Italian, Easter makes the entire country have fun with games and concerts. On Easter Sunday in Italy, all members of the family exchange Easter eggs, which can also be made especially for the occasion containing special gifts that are placed inside the egg. On Easter Sunday morning, each family usually eats a breakfast of salami, eggs, a special cheese cake and the traditional ”colomba” – a sweet cake which contains almonds and candied fruits. On Easter Monday, everybody goes out for a picnic or by the sea and many families eat lamb, broad beans and a strong sheep’s milk cheese.

In the Czech Republic Easter is no longer considered a great Catholic holiday. It is more of a welcome to spring, an opportunity for a family to meet at dinner or to visit one of the cultural events held during Easter. Fairs are held in many places, there is usually a wide offer of beautiful hand-painted Easter eggs and eggs decorated by different techniques – the so called “kraslice” (yolk and white are removed and egg-shell is decorated), which decorate shops as well as households.

In Ireland Easter-time is rich with traditions, the overlapping of centuries of ritual celebrating rebirth, resurrection, salvation and everlasting life. Many of the traditions surrounding Easter in Ireland are universal to the Christian world. Others – such as the dawn dance, the herring funeral, and the cake dance – are distinctly Celtic, and many look back to the traditions of pre-Christian times.

Poland celebrates Easter in a conventional style. On Saturday people take to churches decorated baskets containing traditional food to be blessed: eggs, ham, sausage, salt, bread and cake. Prominently displayed among these is the Easter lamb made of sugar and colourful pisanki. The food has a symbolic meaning:  eggs symbolize life and Christ’s resurrection, bread symbolizes Jesus and lamb represents Christ. One of the more quirky Polish traditions is Lany Poniedziałek (Wet Monday) which is celebrated by everyone with enthusiasm by sprinkling each other with water. Some people say that being splashed with water on Easter Monday will bring you good luck throughout the year!

In Sweden, Easter is more than just a festival. It is a religious occasion that is celebrated with great splendour. The grandeur of the festival is seen from the fact that a week before Easter, the entire country revels in the Eastertide festivities and shops are gaily decorated in festive symbols.

In Israel thousands of pilgrims and tourists travel from across the world to celebrate the holy festival of Easter in the Holy Land of Jerusalem. Holy fire lights and candles symbolize the resurrection of Jesus Christ here.

Traditions in the U.K.include eating hot cross buns – meant to symbolize the Cross, exchange of chocolate eggs or bunnies (symbols of new life) on Easter Sunday and often small eggs are hidden around the house and garden for children to find. Children paint decorations on egg shells and simnel cakes are baked – a rich fruit cake with a layer of marzipan in the middle and 11 balls of marzipan on top symbolizing 11 true apostles (excluding Judas).

Wishing you a fun-filled, happy and sunny Easter!

Grace, Claire and Magda

Please note that our offices will be closed between 6-9 April. 


Linguamax Featured in HSBC Business Matters

We were really pleased to be featured by HSBC in their March edition of Business Matters. It focuses on our work with freelance translators. You can read part of the story below – the full article is available here:

How my business works with freelances
Grace Azadvar – director of Sidcup-based Linguamax Ltd

Grace Azadvar“My business probably works with up to 200 freelances a year, of whom half would be regulars. It’s a cost-effective solution, one that is perfectly suited to the varied nature of the work my business does.

We offer translation services in more than 70 languages – ranging from Albanian to Zulu. Translation and interpreting from English to Polish, Czech, Romanian, Russian, French, German and Spanish are particular specialities of ours.

We draw upon our vast database of linguists, which we’ve built up since the business was formed in 1995. We also get sent CVs – probably every day – from people offering their services. Sometimes we find new people online or go on personal recommendations we receive.

Quality and accuracy is extremely important when it comes to translation, so we begin by checking someone’s ability by testing them on a short document. If the quality of their work is high enough, their name goes onto our database….carry on reading the article here.