This article discusses Catalan as well as its relationship to other languages spoken in the Spain. We also discuss Catalan translation.

The language we know as “Spanish” is Castellano. It is originally the language of Castille, the region is broadly in central Spain, around Madrid. Castillano is a Latin language. Spanish is actually one of four official Spanish languages. Gallego, Basque and Catalan are the other three. Basque is not a Latin language, and is completely unrelated to the other Spanish languages.

Catalan is not a dialect of Castillano – it is a distinct language in its own right. Catalan is a Latin language. It has common grammar and some similar words, but is a separate language. Just like French is a separate language to Spanish, so is Catalan.

So does Catalunya have a distinct culture and history?

Spain is culturally diverse. it is a much bigger country in terms of size than the UK. There is wide cultural diversity between parts of the country. Catalunya has been part of a united Spain since the War of Spanish Succession (1702–1714) (source Wikipedia). The combined Kingdoms of Castille and Aragon governed Catalunya, from the late 1400s.

During the Franco dictatorship, (1939-75), there was repression of the Catalan language. Franco forbade the use of all regional languages. Modern constitutional Spain emerged after the Franco era. The country is a constitutional monarchy. Since 1975, Catalunya has enjoyed a high degree of autonomy, as have other parts of Spain. In effect there is a federal system. The Spanish constitution delegates many powers to the autonomous regional Governments. The Catalan language is respected and prospers.

Do you need Catalan translation on product packaging?

Spanish or EU law does not currently require Catalan on product packaging. Castilian Spanish is the only required official EU language. If Catalunya were to become independent, you would expect that Catalan translation would become a legal requirement on product packaging.

A good analogy in the UK would be Cornwall. Like Catalan, Cornish is a separate language, distinct from English. It is not an official EU language however. There is no requirement to put Cornish translation on products sold in Cornwall.

So do we offer Catalan translation?

Yes we do. Many people in the Catalunya region speak Catalan. If you want to deliver an effective marketing message, using Catalan alongside Spanish, is a good idea. Official documents are often written in Catalan. We translated letters, marketing materials, and business correspondence. We have also translated medical records written in Catalan. That was a real challenge, as medics can write as illegibly in Catalan as in any other language!

Contact us for Catalan translation

If you have a document or a website text requiring translation between English and Catalan, we will be happy to quote. Contact Better Languages using our web form, or send us an email.