Dutch Language Translation Services

Dutch is a wonderful language with a rich history. Dutch or “Nederlands” under native Dutch speakers is spoken by over 23 million people. Dutch is spoken in a lot of different countries and not all of them are in Europe. Think countries like Surinam and the Netherlands Antillen.

8 Amazing Facts:

  1. Four languages in one. Dutch is a Germanic language, but German isn’t the only language that has had an influence on Dutch. French and English loanwords are very common in the language. Think French words like “aubergine” which means eggplant or “charmant” which means charming. Common English loanwords are words like computer, help and tanktop.
  2. Afrikaans is the language spoken in South Africa and Namibia. This language is a daughter language of Dutch. A remainder of the time South Africa was in the hands of the Dutch.
  3. One of the hardest languages on earth. Dutch is one of the hardest languages to learn. This is because Dutch has harsh sounds that are often difficult for foreigners to mimic. Words like “schurk” (a villain) or “schrijven” (writing) are hard to pronounce because of the hard “sch” tone.
  4. A rolling r. Dutch has a rolling r. This tone is difficult for Native English speakers to pronounce, because the “r” in English sounds like “ar” while the Dutch r sounds more like “rrrr.” Dutch people make this sound by putting their tongue on the gums behind their teeth and blowing out air.
  5. The Dutch like it long.Not only are Dutch people one of the tallest people on earth, they also love long words. Some words even have up to 30 to 37 letters, like words as “meervoudigepersoonlijkheidsstoornis” which means multiple personality disorder or the word “accountantadministratieconsulent” which means accountant administration consultant. They fit three or more words into one.
  6. Street slang. As in every language the Netherlands has its own street slang. What makes the Dutch street slang so special is that it gets its main influences from other languages like Hebrew, Turkish, Polish, Romanian, Arabic and other languages that were brought in by immigrants. English slang isn’t uncommon either, like for example the word cool.
  7.  There are 28 dialects in the Dutch language. Most dialects are bound by province. You have Frysian in the province Friesland, Drents in the province of Drenthe, Hollands in North- and South Holland along with Utrecht, Limburgs in the province of Limburg and Brabants in the province of North Brabant. Each dialect has its own sounds and words. The “g” and “sch” sounds in Limburg and North Brabant are softer than standard Dutch, while Frysian words are more compact or entirely different than the words someone in South Holland would use.
  8. 600 AD. We already told you Dutch was a Germanic language, but Dutch only started to differentiate from German in 600 AD. That means the language is over 1400 years old. Quite an old language, don’t you think?

If you are looking for a professional translation for Dutch<>English language pair, please don’t hesitate to inform us.


 

THE PECULIARITIES OF THE DUTCH LANGUAGE

Ask any foreigner who has spent some time in the Netherlands. The Dutch are peculiar people. They are very straightforward or depending on who you ask, just plainly rude. Some say that behavior stems from the language.

When asking foreigners, Dutch is apparently among the most notoriously difficult languages for foreigners to learn. For me, a native Dutchman, that is hard to determine, but I can give you a few peculiarities of the languages, for fun and to learn something new.

  1. Gezellig”. No other word in the Dutch languages is such an issue among foreigners trying to learn the language than „gezellig”. Often translated with cosy, enjoyable or pleasant, neither one of those translations really fits. The reason for that might very well be that even Dutch people can’t really put into words when it is „gezellig”. We all feel it, we know it, but actually articulating it in a way that others can understand is not that easy. We use it for having diner with friends or playing a board game with your family. Key word here is probably „with”. Doing things with others, socializing in a fun way. We Dutch can be a very „gezellig” people, we just can’t really explain to you what it means in English.
  2. We use „congratulations” wrong (as well as many other English words). We Dutchies are being taught English in schools from a very young age. And most of us can use it practically, meaning that we might stumble a bit but we get our meaning across. So when it’s your birthday, we will heartily shake your hand and say „congratulations”. Something that is not a big deal, but we should say Happy Birthday instead. Please tell our teachers, so we can use it correctly.
  3. We inadvertently create funny (or alarming) situations when speaking English. While researching for this blogpost, I found out that we Dutch seem to create Dutchisms. These are English sentences that are quite literally translated from Dutch and do not always mean what we think they mean. Some excellent books have been published on that topic. The book „The Undutchables” contains a thorough chapter on the language, and in „I always get my sin” many hilarious Dutchisms are quoted.

Some just plainly funny, others leading to quite an alarming perception of the person uttering it and others just offensive, despite the fact that that wasn’t the intention. A few examples:

  • In Dutch: We willen een cabrio huren
  • Dutchism: We would like to rent a topless car
  • In English: We would like to rent a convertible
  • In Dutch: Ik fok paarden
  • Dutchism: I fuck horses
  • In English: I breed horses
  • In Dutch: Hij is ondernemer
  • Dutchism He is an undertaker
  • In English: He is an entrepreneur