PROFESSIONAL ESTONIAN TRANSLATION SERVICES
Estonian is the official language of Estonia, a small country located in Eastern-Europe by the Baltic Sea. It is spoken by around one million people, most of them living in Estonia. The language belongs to the Uralic languages family.
It has been said that it is one of the most difficult languages for a foreigner to master, even local Estonians have to rely on their language sense and experience in order to speak and write correct Estonian. Then again, it makes every Estonian happy to hear a foreigner speak their language, even if it’s just a couple of words.
History and Present Day
Hundreds of years ago there were two different dialects spoken in Estonia – Northern and Southern Estonian languages. Eventually, the modern language spoken today evolved from the Northern dialect. However, since Estonia has been dominated by so many nations in the past, all of their languages have left their mark as well. There are words and phrases from German, Russian, Danish, Swedish that are used even today; and of course, the invasion of technology and communication has resulted in many English terms becoming a part of the language.
The oldest writing in Estonia dates back to the 13th century and the first book was published in 1525. Estonian only became state language in 1919, during the first Estonian Republic times.
Writing and Speaking Estonian
Estonian uses Latin alphabet and has added some specific letters, such as ä, ö, ü, õ. Since both vowel and consonant gradation is used, and the same words can contain several variations of these (as well as k, p, t vs. g, b, d), depending on the sentence they are in, for an outsider it may at first seem impossible to learn.
Another thing that makes it difficult is the fact that 14 cases are used for both nouns as well as adjectives. These are nominative, genitive, partitive, illative, inessive, elative, allative, adessive, ablative, translative, terminative, essive, abessive, comitative. There are grammar rules to how these cases are used, however, it seems like half of the words are irregular and need to be memorized.
All of the above makes it difficult for non-Estonians to write and speak the language properly. However, once you have learned to speak it without mistakes, you can probably write it just as well – everything is spelt exactly the way it is spoken.
While you are better off using a native translator for any language, you should definitely hire an Estonian if you need correct translations. Be prepared to receive a text that is shorter than the original, but full of extra long words. Since there are no prepositions in this language, the same words have different endings in different sentences, which makes it difficult for certain strings and scripts to be translated. Also, don’t be surprised to see that there are many Estonian words that have lots of different meanings. For example, the word “tee” can either mean “tea”, “road” or “do”.
Estonians are very proud for their language and every native Estonian translator goes to great lengths to deliver your translation in perfect language.