National Language or Official Language: Which is it Best to Use for a Translation?

National Language or Official Language

It’s a simple fact that few countries around the world only use a single language for communication, despite the fact that many only have one official language. Even when someone migrates to another country which does not speak his or her native language listening and talking in that language will still seem more natural.

If you run a business and you are seeking out new markets you may be looking at a market in your own country of residents who still enjoy speaking in their own native language, rather than the official language.

An “official language” is the language used by the country’s government for all areas such as health, education, law and order and all other government services. There might be two official languages in a country like New Zealand, where both English and Maori have official language status. This doesn’t mean all citizens do or have to speak both languages. Canada also has two official languages, which are French and English. In Singapore, 4 official languages are present. These are English, Tamil, Malay, and Mandarin.

A “national language,” has a slightly different meaning as it refers to the language which is the most widely spoken. In Canada, this is English and in Singapore it’s Malay. If you are seeking a German English translation or vice versa and your target audience is in Britain, you will get the majority of the population to understand what you are trying to say. However, in Britain, there are many other languages that are spoken which reflect the huge mix of migrants there so if you translate into Mandarin from German you may well be tapping into a new market of consumers if you are trying to market a product in England.

Germany is similar to England’s situation, as there is only one main language to worry about if you have hired an English German translator to do your translation work. However, you may not realise this but there is a large migrant Turkish population in Germany which you could well tap into if you did a German Turkish translation. Turkish is neither an official or national language in Turkey, but the Turks may be happy to read your product descriptions when they are in Germany, as they will get a better understanding of what you are trying to sell. Make sure you outline your requirements to your chosen German translation company as they will tell you which language is best to translate.