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How to obtain quality translation into Catalan

Obtaining a quality translation into Catalan is not as easy as you might think

Since you are already looking for a quality translation into Catalan, you must know that Catalan and Spanish are the official languages of the Catalonia region. Catalan, however, is the most widely used of the two languages. It is spoken on the streets, at home, in the school, at the workplace, used as the working language in the regional government, and universities. This is particularly true outside Barcelona, the region’s capital.

The reality is, Catalan lies at the core of the Catalonian identity and any serious business wishing to succeed or expand into the region will have to localize their content. According to, about 9 million people speak Catalan and 11 million understand it. This makes it the second-most widely spoken language in the Iberian peninsula (after Spanish, known in Spain as Castellano).

Catalan is also the official language of Andorra, and a co-official language of two more autonomous communities in eastern Spain: the Valencian Community, and the Balearic Islands. It is also spoken in two further areas in eastern Spain: the eastern strip of Aragon and the Carche area in the Region of Murcia. Beyond the peninsula, it has semi-official status in the Italian commune of Alghero, and it is spoken in the Pyrénées-Orientales department of France. The Catalan-speaking territories are often called the Països Catalans or “Catalan Countries”.

Here are some points to keep in mind when localizing your content into Catalan, in order to receive the best quality translation:

Firstly, Catalan is different from Spanish

This can be quite confusing, especially, if you are not familiar with both languages. However, the fact is, Catalan is a stand-alone language from Spanish, with its own fully developed grammar rules, style and syntax. Although both languages originated from Latin, just as other Romance languages, Catalan is closer to other Romance languages such as Italian and French than it is to Spanish.

Catalan: formal or informal?

The level of formality plays a role in determining the voice of the brand. Do you want to sound more formal/corporate? Or would you prefer to project a more laid-back image to your target audience?

Catalan has two levels of formality. The formal (second person, ‘Vosté’ often referred to as the classic voice); and the informal (second person, ‘Tu’ which is popular on social media).

Keep in mind too that the form of the address you opt for will impact the terms of morphology and lexical structure. This includes verb declensions and term inflexions.

If your organization is in the Business-to-Consumer space using the informal variant, ‘Tu’ might work better than the formal ‘Vosté’ form. However, if your audience is primarily B2B, using the ‘Vosté’ form might be more appropriate.

Grammar is flexible

Though the Catalan language uses the subject-verb-object structure, it is also flexible in certain instances. This is a considerable difference from the English language.

Also, the language differentiates between masculine and feminine forms, and between singular and plural forms. For example, the word “new” can be translated into either the feminine or masculine variant ‘Nova’ or ‘Nou’ respectively. Or, into its plural forms ‘Noves’ or ‘Nous’. As such, the Catalan language is flexible, especially if the word is a stand-alone term with no context.

Other issues to consider in translation into Catalan

In the past, loanwords were more restricted in Catalan. The language is now more open to new words, especially in technology. However, most of these foreign terms become “Catalanised” to reflect the local style. One instance is the social media term, Tweet, which becomes tuit.

In Catalan, words like “software” are left as is. Terms like “hashtag” (‘etiqueta’) and “trending topic” (‘tema del moment’) are controversial. There is so far no consensus on the localized version.

At QuickSilver Translate, we only use translators who are translating into their native language. Naturally, since we are based in Barcelona, we have a number of highly qualified and experienced, native-speaking Catalan translators.

Find out more about our methodology, or contact us for a quote.

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