Translation in Slovenia

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Languages spoken in Slovenia

Official languages

The official and national language of the Republic of Slovenia is Slovene, which is spoken by a large majority of the population. It is also known, in English, as Slovenian. Two minority languages, namely Hungarian and Italian, are recognised as co-official languages and accordingly protected in their residential municipalities. Other languages, spoken primarily by the immigrants, include mainly other South Slavic languages. The most often taught foreign languages are English and German.

On Slovenian language

Slovenia is located at the intersection of the Ugric, Germanic, and Romance language groups and their influence can be felt in many layers of Slovene culture. This language of just over 2 million speakers has always been cherished by its users as the most distinctive feature that separates them from neighbouring nations. Slovene is a South Slavic language written in the Roman (Latin) alphabet, closely related to Serbian, Croatian, Macedonian, and Bulgarian, but also with affinities to the West Slavic languages Czech and Slovak. Like most other Slavic languages, Slovene is heavily inflected, and it retains some features not found in any other standard South Slavic language, such as the dual number (for two persons or things) in nouns, adjectives, pronouns, and verbs, as well as the use of singular and plural. The language is also dialectically diverse: in addition to standard Slovene, which is used in speeches and writing, there also exist 46 markedly different dialects.


Italian is officially recognised as the mother tongue of the protected Italian minority and co-official language in Slovenian Istria near the Slovenian-Italian border and at the Slovenian coastline. Public usage of Italian is permitted and protected by minority protection laws. Members of the Italian minority are entitled to primary and secondary education in their native language, as well as to radio and television programmes in Italian, and to communicating in Italian with the authorities.

Hungarian Hungarian is officially recognised as the mother tongue of protected Hungarian minority in Prekmurje region near the Slovenian-Hungarian border. Public usage of Hungarian is permitted and protected by minority protection laws. Members of Hungarian minority are entitled to primary and secondary education in their native language, as well to radio and occasional television broadcast in Hungarian, and to communicating in Hungarian with the authorities.

Languages of immigrants

Due to a short and bloodless secession from Yugoslavia and a quick transition from socialism to blooming market economy, many people sought refuge in Slovenia during Yugoslav wars in Croatia and Bosnia. As a consequence, the vast majority of immigrants speak Croatian, Bosnian, or Serbian. Other languages, spoken by immigrants, include: Romani, Macedonian, and Albanian. None of those languages have been granted any legal status, although many Slovenians understand Croatian, Bosnian, or Serbian well enough to hold a casual conversation.

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History of translation in Slovenia

The history of the language is closely connected to translation: translations not only stand at the origins of standard Slovene, but also at the beginning of Slovene prose, poetry, and drama. The first extant examples of Slovene writing already show that translations had a seminal influence on the development and formation of Slovene language and literature. For example, the very first written record of Slovene, dating from about 1000 AD, is found in the Freising Manuscripts, which consist of a collection of translated German and Latin confessions and sermons that were used in the Western Church.

The decisive influence of translation is found not only at the very eginnings of the formation of Slovene, but also during the Reformation, when Slovene prose was in many aspects formed on the basis of the first Slovene Protestant translations of the Bible (1584). Again the influence of German was prevailing: although the Slovene Protestants apparently used Erasmus of Rotterdam's Latin translation as the source text, they combined it with Luther's German version (see Ahačič 2007).

Translation also stands at the beginning of Slovene dramatic works: the first complete Slovene comedy is a translation of Die Feldmühle by the Viennese Baroque playwright Josef Richter towards the end of 1789 under the title Županova Micka (The Mayor's Daughter). Finally, poetry was also shaped in many aspects through translations from German: for example, the greatest Slovene Romantic poet, France Prešeren (1800–1849), started bytranslating parts of Byron's Parisina before creating the first epic poem in Slovene in order to practise the genre.

At the beginning of the 19th century a large part of the Slovene-populated lands were included in the Illyrian Provinces of Napoleon's French Empire (1809–1814). The French encouraged local initiative and favoured the use of Slovene as an official language. Although many of the changes did not survive the return to Habsburg rule, the period contributed greatly to national self-awareness. Thus, grammars of the language were published (starting in 1808), in 1843 Ljubljana (the capital of Slovenia) saw the publication of the first Slovene-language newspaper, and the end of the century saw the formation of the first Slovene political parties. These grammars standardised and codified Slovene, so that by the middle of the 19th century a standard written language was in use and monolingualism became an explicit national political demand.

The 20th century also saw the creation of bilingual dictionaries between Slovene and almost all major European languages, and the creation of the monumental monolingual dictionary of Slovene Slovar slovenskega književnega jezika (1970–1991). The late 20th and the beginning of the 21st centuries, moreover, provided Slovenes with various bilingual and monolingual corpora such as the 621-million-word FidaPLUS reference corpus of Slovene (

Translation thus actively contributed to the very formation of the Slovene anguage and literary production. Today translations also represent a very high percentage of Slovene literary production. This is relatively high for a population of just over 2 million people: between 1997 and 2003 an average of 715 literary works were published annually. In those years, the ratio between original works published in Slovene and translations from other languages remained fairly constant and extremely high: on average, 36% of all literary production in Slovene is in translation.

(from:Translation and TS Research in a Culture Using a Language of Limited Diffusion: The Case of Slovenia, Nike K. Pokorn, University of Ljubljana, Journal Of Specialized Translation No 10 July 2008,

Translation demographics in Slovenia

Demand for translation in Slovenia

Professional associations in Slovenia

DZTPS - Društvo znanstvenih in tehničnih prevajalcev Slovenije The Association of Scientific and Technical Translators of Slovenia is a professional union of translators who work either as freelancers or are employed by different companies or translation agencies. Our members (there are about 600 of them at present) are registered by language and by field of expertize. The Association refers requests for translations to registered members and performs the invoicing service. It also contributes towards the education of its members by organizing various translation-related seminars and lectures. One of the aims of the Association is to establish and maintain links with similar organisation and translation institutions at the nation and international levels.

It is also a member of the International Federation of Translators (FIT) and regularly publishes the Association's journal called Mostovi.  Members: 421  Fields: 121  Languages: 35 Address:

Petkovskovo nabrezje 57
1000 Ljubljana, Slovenia

Secretary: +386 1 2317 862 Fax: +386 1 2320 131 (include both translator/linguist and other relevant associations in your list) (check for reference)


Is a professional association with a mission to sustain and support the high professional level of literary translations, to establish and nurture the contacts between translators and to keep them informed about theoretical, hjistorical, social and practical aspects of their vocation. To realize its goals the association (among other things) organizes literary and discussion meetings, professional lectures, briefings etc.The international exchange of translators and inter-organizational cooperation with other cultural, educational and professional associations both in Slovenia and abroad is also among its missions as well as publication of professional literature. Tomšičeva 12, 1000 Ljubljana, 01/4210 579, Web page:ž

Accreditation and certification

Translator training in Slovenia

The Faculty of Arts at the University of Ljubljana has a Department of Translation. The department began operation in the academic year 1997/98. It offers Bachelor|s degree in Interlingual communication,. Master's degrees in Translation and in Interpreting and PhD in TS (Translation studies).

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Sworn translation

Laws specially applicable to translation in Slovenia

Translation products produced in Slovenia

Methods and terms of payment

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