Castilian, Catalan or Valencian?
Thread poster: Erik Hansson

Erik Hansson  Identity Verified
Member (2002)
+ ...
Aug 22, 2006

Dear fellow ProZians,

Sorry for posting this in English, but unfortunately I don't speak any of the above-mentioned languages.

One of our clients needs a quote for an English text to be translated into "Spanish for Valencia" (as he put it). We have been doing some research about the languages spoken in Valencia but are still very unsure which language we can recommend to our client.

We understand that the question if Valencian should be seen as an own language or a dialect of Catalan might be perceived as controverse and can be a delicate topic, depending on whom you're asking. Any suggestions or comments regarding the target language are very welcome.

Thank you very much in advance.


Erik Hansson ( SFÖ )
Technical translator DE-SV
Hansson Übersetzungen GmbH
ProZ profile


Ruben Berrozpe (X)  Identity Verified
English to Spanish
Spanish is Spanish Aug 22, 2006

Hello Erik,

That request for quote rings a bell ...icon_wink.gif
The problem is, the client is not making the right question, meaning that the wording is confusing - possibly because he doesn't really know what he's talking about.

In Valencia they don't speak any particular kind of Spanish - Spanish in Valencia is the same as Spanish elsewhere in Spain, commonly known as "Castillian Spanish".

However, if they're actually talking about Valencian (which is NOT a Spanish dialect), the problem comes from the popular sensitivity about Valencian and Catalan, and their use as a political weapon, which tends to blur and heat up the whole debate. People in Valencia will possibly be vocal about Valencian being different from Catalan whereas you'll mostly hear the opposite north of the Ebro. The good thing here is that the written language in both cases is almost (if not entirely) identical, so you may safely look for an English>Catalan or English>Valencian translator to do this job. This will possibly be not a good idea for interpreting assignments though, as there are many more differences and nuances to take into account between both spoken languages.

I hope that helped you. By the way, I am not Catalan nor Valencian but I have lived both in Barcelona and Valencia and I think I know what the whole thing's about. You will certainly find different opinions about the matter but they shouldn't affect how you handle a written translation to Valencian/Catalan.



Maria Rosich Andreu  Identity Verified
Local time: 12:34
Member (2003)
Dutch to Spanish
+ ...
Ask the client to rephrase Aug 22, 2006

I agree with Rubén's notes above.

Basically, what you need to ask from your client is whether he already has a Castillian (=Spanish) version / doesn't need one; in either of these cases I would recommend finding someone who specifically has in his/her profile that he/she translates into Valentian (as opposed or in addition to Catalan), since in Valencia they are more sensitive about the issue than 'north of the Ebro'.icon_wink.gif



Stephanie Wloch  Identity Verified
Local time: 12:34
Member (2003)
Dutch to German
Valenciá a (only spoken?) variety of Catalan Aug 22, 2006

It is rather complex indeed, if you read the Wikipedia-article about Valencian.
An important subgroup of those linguists, mostly from the local official language academy (Acadèmia Valenciana de la Llengua), has recently proposed to also use this name to refer to the language as a whole, including the entire Catalan-speaking area, stating a concept of two names for one language (synonym).

Maria Rosich Andreu wrote:
since in Valencia they are more sensitive about the issue than 'north of the Ebro'.icon_wink.gif

I can receive Ràdio Televisió Valenciana - RTVV via satellite. Almost everything spoken in Valencià. Sometimes in a discussion somebody can only speak Spanish (castellano) and still others talk Valencià, because most of the people can at least understand Valencià.
approximately 94% of the Valencian population could understand it, 78% could speak and read it, and around 50% could write it.

There will be more and more speakers and therefore an increasing demand for translations into (the Valencian variety of) Catalan.
Adéu!Bona sort, Erik!;-)

[Edited at 2006-08-22 20:24]


Andy Watkinson
Local time: 12:34
Catalan to English
+ ...
Valencian=Catalan Aug 23, 2006

Hi Erik,

Just to support Ruben's post, the only office tool you need to "translate" Valencian into Catalan is a photocopier.



Carlos Montilla
Local time: 12:34
Member (2004)
English to Spanish
+ ...
Valencian and Catalan Aug 23, 2006

In my opinion, Valencian is a dialectal variety of Catalan and, of course, a Catalan document would be understood in Valencia.
However, if the document is only to be used in Valencia, I'd suggest you to use a Catalan translator from Valencia, just as you would use a Mexican translator to translate something into Spanish for Mexico (and so on with the other spanish-speaking countries).


Helena Diaz del Real  Identity Verified
Local time: 12:34
German to Spanish
+ ...
Valencian spanish is the same as murcian, cordoban or zamoran spanish Aug 23, 2006

Hello Erik!

I absolutely agree with Ruben. If I would speak a better english as I do, his words could have been mine, too. ;o))

At any case, catalan is a language and valencià, a dialect of it. As much as Mexican or columbian dialects of spanish. However I think there is not such a big difference between columbian and mexican dialects to "high" spanish, as between valencian catalan and "high" catalan.

If you ask me, it is mainly a political question, but not a real linguistic one. During Franco's life we learned at schol, that catalan is the language from the pirinees until murcia and the balearic islands.

To ask about valencian spanish is for me as to ask for the spanish spoken anywhere else in Spain. There are some slight dialectal differences, as much as there would be with some translator from Murcia, Córdoba, Zamora or elswhere in Spain.

This is my mind about. I hope I have helped you a little.

Many greetings from Girona,


Erik Hansson  Identity Verified
Member (2002)
+ ...
Thank you! Sep 2, 2006

Thank you everybody for your answers and valuable information. It was interesting to read about the background and about the "politicized" language (which reminds me about how Welsh was abused in the 70's, thanks God for being de-politicized again). If the present sensitivity says that by using a certain language, you have certain political views, there must be something wrong.

In the meantime I have explained the whole matter with Spanish, Catalan and Valencian to my client. He will now have to clarify with his client in Valencia. I am quite sure that he will choose Spanish after all, if he for example will need the same text for another client in another region of Spain, where no Catalan is spoken.

Best regards and thanks again


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