Language differences (Du in Belg/Neth and It in Ita/Switz)
Thread poster: Bertrand Bonaventure
Bertrand Bonaventure
Local time: 06:25
English to French
+ ...
Sep 23, 2004

Hi all,
Can anyone tell me if there is big differences between Dutch spoken in Belgium and in the Netherlands, and if translation needs to be adapt for each country?
The same applies for Italian spoken in Italy and Switzerland.
Thanks for your help,

[Subject edited by staff or moderator 2004-09-23 19:56]

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Els Hoefman  Identity Verified
Local time: 06:25
Member (2004)
English to Dutch
+ ...
See Sep 23, 2004

Hi Bertrand,

A few months again there was an interesting discussion on the differences between Flemish and Dutch on this forum:

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Henk Peelen  Identity Verified
Local time: 06:25
Member (2002)
German to Dutch
+ ...
Dutch <> Flemish: hard to say, ask your client Sep 23, 2004

Belgian Dutch is Flemish, but it differs only occasionally from Hollands (Dutch Dutch): the grammar is the same, but some expressions differ and could mutually be misunderstood.
I'm living in The Netherlands and working on a huge project for a Flemish power plant, without knowing the ins and outs of Flemish. My client asks me to translate into Dutch.

In case a client asks me to translate into Flemish, I immediatelly reply "no, I don't manage Flemish", so it's up to my client to decide whether my Dutch would satisfy.

Linguistically, the difference is a minor one, but you could step a Belgian or Dutch(wo)man on his/her toes when you submit the "wrong" language, because it's actually a culture difference.
The only solution is to ask your client. Flemish is never accepted in Holland, whereas some Belgian always like to stick to Felmish and others like to abolish the difference for business language.

Last year a Dutchman who lives for three years in the Flemish city of Antwerp was beat up because the Felmisch didn't want his "Hollands". So be careful, they know where to find you when you'd choose the wrong language.
Generally, Flemish like to be careful on their language. They feel it's endangered on two sides: French in the south and Hollands in the north. Probably the past contributed to this tenacity: in WWI some Flemish soldiers died, solely due to the fact they didn't understand the commands from their superiors, who all belonged tot he upper class and spoke French.

Some informative websites:

[Edited at 2004-09-23 10:00]

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United Kingdom
Local time: 05:25
English to Italian
+ ...
Italian Sep 23, 2004

The main difference between Italian and Swiss Italian is terminology in fields like
- accountancy
- law
- medicine (to some extent)

as Swiss Italian tends to be heavily influenced by German (many terms are translated straight from German and may not make much sense to a non-Swiss). On the contrary, I can't think of stylistic differences, except perhaps that, IMO, Swiss Italian hasn't been taken over by English yet, compared to Italian spoken in Italy.

So I think that the need for adaptation would depend on the type of text and its target audience.


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Language differences (Du in Belg/Neth and It in Ita/Switz)

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