Our guide for translating Czech

Do you know that the word “dollar” in English was a loanword from Czech? 

The Czech Republic is located near the “European Banana”. This area is considered as the best choice for investments due to the convenience of transport and logistics. Along with being an EU member, the Czech Republic now becomes a perfect gateway to the European market. This nation has consistently attracted foreign direct investment per capita since 2000, which confirms its strong attractiveness for foreign investors in near future.

I. The importance of Czech translation

Czech language is the official language of the Czech Republic and is spoken among 10 million people. Being a member of the West-Slavic family, this language is closely related to the Slovak language, to a point of mutual intelligibility. Most adult Czechs and Slovaks can communicate with each other easily until the splitting of Czechoslovakia. In May 2004, the European Union declared Czech to be one of its official languages.

 In terms of attracting global investment, the Czech Republic is one of the most successful CEE countries. There are approximately 173,000 Czech firms across all industries that are currently supported by foreign capital.

The introduction of investment incentives in 1998 stimulated a massive inflow of FDI into greenfield projects. The Czech Republic’s accession to the European Union in 2004 and the amendments to the investment-incentives legislation have further boosted investment. 

II. 4 problems when translating Czech

1. Word order

The Czech language seems to be more flexible in terms of word order than other languages such as English. 

For example: “The fat lady sat on the poor horse” and “The poor horse sat on the fat lady”, two have different meanings in English. In Czech, however, they could mean the same.

This is the blind spot of automated translation machines because they tend to translate word for word, so the result comes out unintelligible. This complex rule requires the translator to analyze the original sentence in Czech and rearrange the word order to produce the correct translation.

2. Complex grammar

A lot of Czech learners said that the biggest challenge is choosing the right ending in the right case with the right preposition and getting the adjectives and the nouns to agree. Add in masculine animate and inanimate, a feminine that has many different endings and neutral that sounds similar to feminine, you can feel your head going dizzy as hell!

For example, seeing a word like “Petra” in a sentence, you may think Petra is a girl and it’s her name, but then you find out that it is actually about Petr makes you realize how easy it is to misunderstand what you read or hear. 

But that’s not all! The 7 declensions that include not only verbs, but also nouns, pronouns, adjectives, adverbs, and actions that fall under each declension often make no logical sense. 

3. Pronouns

In many languages, pronouns usually do not change their form. That’s not the case when it comes to Czech, this language loves to put its speakers in complex choices. For example, when a person wants to say “you”, he must pick one from nine words: ty, tebe, tobě, tě, tebou, vy, vás, vám, vámi. This can sometimes cause a real headache for those who are learning Czech.

4. Phonology

The phonology of Czech is beyond difficult because a lot of words contain no vowels, such as zmrzl (froze to death), ztvrdl (hardened), scvrkl (shrunk), blb (fool), vlk (wolf), and smrt (death). Let’s look at this typical sentence and guess how to pronounce: “Smrž pln skvrn zvlhl z mlh.” meaning “Morel full of spots wetted from fog”. 

The sound of some words or parts of a word can sometimes be either voiceless (terminally or next to a voiceless consonant) or voiced (elsewhere). That confuses the foreign ears and may lead to misunderstanding or missing.

Our translation company provides clients with professional Czech translations. Our services’ features include 100% human-made, proofread Czech translations delivered on time. Just send us your inquiry, and we will return your fast and free quote for your Czech translation project.

Facts about the Czech language

  • English has borrowed a few words from Czech, such as a robot, polka, and howitzer
  • The Czechs do not sell people to hell, they tell them to go to the woods (do háje / do prčic).
  • Some Czech words are used without a single vowel: chrt (hound), krk (neck), prst (finger, toe), smrk (spruce), trh (market), etc.
  • Almost 1% of the Internet is written in Czech.