Croatia has to be the favourite seaside holiday destination for Czechs. As soon as the schools break up, you’ll see bus/car loads of Czech tourists heading south, socks and sandals at the ready (only kidding, we’re not all that bad!).

Joking aside, us Czech’s can get by speaking Czech in Croatia. But how much do we really know about Croatian? We’ve teamed up with our friends/colleagues from Ciklopea, one of the leading translation agencies based in Zagreb. We had a chat with their colleague Project and Marketing Manager Miloš, who told us all about their language and what to keep in mind when ordering Croatian translations. Here’s what he told us:

Could you tell us a little bit about Croatian? Is it very different to Serbian and Slovenian? Can you understand each other?

Slovenian, Croatian, Serbian are South Slavic languages. Croatian and Serbian are mutually intelligible. There are differences, however they’re more or less subtle (a bit like Czech and Slovak). Slovenian, on the other hand, is a completely different story – we can understand each other to a certain degree, but no more than that.

Do different dialects of Croatian exist? If so, does that have an impact on translations or is there a standard written form?

Yes, there are three different dialects: Kajkavian, Chakavian and Shtokavian. Shtokavian is used as the standardized written form, so dialects really have no impact on translations.

What is the biggest challenge when dealing with Croatian translations?

I guess just the same as dealing with any other language. Adapting the continually coined new marketing, IT and business terms and expressions from English to Croatian without it sounding funny or confusing, as well as adapting Croatian vocabulary to English without it sounding weird.

Do you have any tips for people wanting to order Croatian translations?

 If you want to order a Croatian translation, you should go with Croatian linguists. People who are not introduced to the realities and dynamics of the South Slavic linguistic area tend to believe that we all speak one/the same language because we can understand each other. But in reality the situation is actually quite different. Trust me, Croats can tell the difference between Serbian, Bosnian, Montenegrin and Croatian. And it’s the same the other way(s) around.

Do you have any funny stories to share about Croatian translations? Are there any famous translation disasters?

We do our best to avoid disasters. Funny stories occur now and then, almost exclusively with “false friends”, but as you know it, those are pretty much untranslatable.

If you could teach people reading this one sentence or phrase in Croatian, what would it be?

Tko pjeva zlo ne misli. – He who sings means no harm. It’s also the title of a famous Croatian movie.

As you can see, the South Slavic linguistic landscape is an interesting and complex topic, so if you’d like to know more, why not have a read of Ciklopea’s blog post? And if you’d like some help with translations, all you have to do is get in touch with either of us 😉 



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