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Ukrainian Translation Service

Ukrainian is a language of the East Slavic subgroup of the Slavic languages. It is the official state language of Ukraine. Written Ukrainian uses the Cyrillic alphabet.

The Ukrainian language traces its origins to the Old Slavic language of the early medieval state of Kievan Rus'. In its earlier stages it was known as Ruthenian. Ukrainian is a lineal descendant of the colloquial language used in Kievan Rus (10th?13th century).

The language has persisted despite several periods of bans, discouragement or both throughout centuries as it has always maintained a sufficient base among the people of Ukraine, its folklore songs, itinerant musicians, and prominent authors.

It is believed that up to the 14th century, ancestors of the modern Ukrainians spoke dialects of the language known collectively as Old East Slavic (today known as Ruthenian language), also spoken by other East Slavs of Kievan Rus. That mainly spoken tongue was used alongside Old Church Slavonic, the literary language of all Slavs. The earliest written record of the language is an amphora found at Gnezdovo and tentatively dated to the mid-10th century. Until the 15th century Gnezdovo was a part of the independent Smolensk principality.

Ukrainian traces its roots through the mid-fourteenth century Ruthenian language, a chancellery language of the Grand Duchy of Lithuania, back to the early written evidences of tenth-century Kievan Rus'. One of the key difficulties in tracing the origin of the Ukrainian language more precisely is that until the end of the 18th century the written language used in Ukraine was quite different from the spoken one. Also the language was constantly persecuted as the territory of Ukraine was divided mainly between Poland and Russia. For this reason, there is no direct data on the origin of the Ukrainian language. One has to rely on indirect methods: analysis of typical mistakes in old manuscripts, comparison of linguistic data with historical, anthropological, archaeological ones, etc. Because of the difficulty of the question, several theories of the origin of Ukrainian language exist. Some early theories have been proven wrong by modern linguistics, while others are still being discussed in the academic community.

Direct written evidence of Ukrainian language existence dates back to the late 16th century. The language itself must have formed earlier, but there are differing opinions as to the exact circumstances and time-frame of its creation.

It is known that between 9th and 13th century, many areas of modern Ukraine, Belarus and parts of Russia were united in a common entity now referred to as Kievan Rus'. Surviving documents from the Kievan Rus' period are written in either Old East Slavic or Old Church Slavonic language or their mixture. Old East Slavic had different dialects in different earldoms of Kievan Rus. These languages are considerably different from both modern Ukrainian and Russian (but similar enough to allow considerable comprehension of the 11th-century texts by an educated Ukrainian or Russian reader).

In 13th century, eastern parts of Rus' (including Moscow) came under Tatar yoke until their unification under the Tsardom of Muscovy, whereas in the south-western areas (including Kiev) were incorporated into the Grand Duchy of Lithuania. For the following four centuries, the language of the two regions evolved in relative isolation from each other. In the Grand Duchy of Lithuania, Old Slavic became the language of the chancellery and gradually evolved into the Ruthenian language. By the 1569 Union of Lublin that formed the Polish-Lithuanian Commonwealth, a significant part of Ukrainian territory was moved from Lithuanian rule to Polish administration, resulting in cultural Polonization and visible attempts to colonize Ukraine by the Polish nobility. Many Ukrainian nobles learned the Polish language and adopted Catholicism during that period. Lower classes were less affected as literacy was common only in the upper class and clergy. The latter were also under significant Polish pressure after the Union with the Catholic Church. Most of the educational system was gradually Polonized. In Ruthenia the language of administrative documents gradually shifted towards Polish. By the 16th century the peculiar official language was formed: a mixture of Old Church Slavonic, Ruthenian and Polish with the influence of the latter gradually increasing. Documents soon took on many Polish characteristics superimposed on Ruthenian phonetics. Much of the influence of Polish on Ukrainian has been attributed to this period.

By the mid 17th century, the linguistic divergence between the Ukrainian and Russian languages was so acute that there was a need for translators during negotiations for the Treaty of Pereyaslav, between Bohdan Khmelnytsky, head of the Zaporozhian Host, and the Russian state.

The first theory of the origin of Ukrainian language was suggested in the Imperial Russia in the middle of the 18th century by Mikhail Lomonosov. This theory posits the existence of a common language spoken by all East Slavic people in the time of the Rus'. According to Lomonosov, the differences that subsequently developed between Great Russian and Ukrainian (he referred to as Little Russian) could be explained by the influence of the Polish and Turkic languages on Ukrainian and the influence of Ugro-Finnic languages on Russian during the period from 13th to 17th century.

The "Polonization" theory was criticized as early as in the first half of the nineteenth century by Mykhailo Maxymovych. The most distinctive features of the Ukrainian language however, are present neither in Russian nor in Polish. Ukrainian and Polish do share many common or similar words, but so do all Slavic languages, since many words originated in the Proto-Slavic language, the common ancestor of all modern Slavic languages. A much smaller part of their common vocabulary can be attributed to the later interaction of the two languages. The "Polonization" theory has not been seriously regarded by the academic community since the beginning of the 20th century, although it is still cited by anti-Ukrainian elements.

Another point of view developed during the nineteenth and twentieth centuries by linguists of Imperial Russia and the Soviet Union. Similarly to Lomonosov, they assumed the existence of a common language spoken by East Slavs in the past. But unlike Lomonosov's hypothesis, this theory does not view "Polonization" or any other external influence as the main driving force that led to the formation of three different languages: Russian, Ukrainian and Belarusian from the common Old East Slavic language. This general point of view is one of the most popular, particularly outside Ukraine. The supporters of this theory disagree, however, about the time when the different languages were formed.

Soviet scholars set the divergence between Ukrainian and Russian only at later time periods (fourteenth through sixteenth centuries). According to this view, Old East Slavic diverged into Belarusian and Ukrainian to the west (collectively, the Ruthenian language of the fifteenth to eighteenth centuries), and Old Russian to the north-east, after the political boundaries of Kievan Rus? were redrawn in the fourteenth century. During the time of the incorporation of Ruthenia (Ukraine and Belarus) into the Polish-Lithuanian Commonwealth, Ukrainian and Belarusian diverged into identifiably separate languages.

Some scholars see a divergence between the language of Galicia-Volhynia and the language of Novgorod-Suzdal by the 1100s, assuming that before the 12th century the two languages were practically indistinguishable. This point of view is, however, at variance with some historical data. In fact, several East Slavic tribes, such as Polans, Drevlyans, Severians, Dulebes (that later likely became Volhynians and Buzhans), White Croats, Tiverians and Ulichs lived on the territory of today's Ukraine long before the 12th century. Notably, some Ukrainian features were recognizable in the southern dialects of Old East Slavic as far back as the language can be documented.

Some researchers, while admitting the differences between the dialects spoken by East Slavic tribes in the 10th and 11th centuries, still consider them as "regional manifestations of a common language". In contrast, Ahatanhel Krymsky and Alexei Shakhmatov assumed the existence of the common spoken language of Eastern Slavs only in prehistoric times. According to their point of view, the diversification of the Old East Slavic language took place in the 8th or early 9th century.

A Ukrainian linguist Stepan Smal-Stocky went even further: he denied the existence of a common Old East Slavic language at any time in the past. Similar points of view were shared by Yevhen Tymchenko, Vsevolod Hantsov, Olena Kurylo, Ivan Ohienko and others. According to this theory, the dialects of East Slavic tribes evolved gradually from the common Proto-Slavic language without any intermediate stages during the 6th through 9th centuries. The Ukrainian language was formed by convergence of tribal dialects, mostly due to an intensive migration of the population within the territory of today's Ukraine in later historical periods. This point of view was also confirmed by phonological studies of Yuri Shevelov and is gaining a number of supporters among Ukrainian academics.

Accurate Ukrainian translation the first time around

Trust in your translation provider is the key to receiving the quality translation you are looking for. At WorldAccess we pride ourselves on delivering your Ukrainian translation project that is backed up with a guarantee.

Your Ukrainian translation will only be done by in-country translators with proven experience in the subject of your original document. A Project Manager, who is also an experienced linguist, will be dedicated to your translation project.

We'll provide your Ukrainian translated document in exactly the same format as your original unless specified different. This means you'll have an accurate Ukrainian translation you can use straight away.

Things to consider when translating between Ukrainian and other Languages

Layout designs - Text typically expands or contracts when translating one language to another. English to Ukrainian translations and Ukrainian to English translations, will contract or expand depending on the subject matter.

Which Ukrainian do you need for your translation?

Getting the Ukrainian translation of your documents right can be very tricky. Clearly there's only one Ukrainian language but as in most countries different sections of the population will have different ways of saying things. Your Account Manager will discuss the target market of your document with you. Clearly if your Ukrainian translation is aimed at teenagers it will need to use their phrases and maybe even slang. Missing these small issues can be the difference between a successful translation and a bad one.

Specialist industry Ukrainian translators

With a large network of in-country, bilingual Ukrainian translator, WorldAccess Translations can respond quickly and effectively to your Ukrainian language translation needs. Our translation teams are professional linguists performing translation from English to Ukrainian and Ukrainian to English for a range of documents in various industries.

Ukrainian Translation Quality Procedures

We work within documented quality procedures and will adopt additional quality controls in order to align with client-side process. Each Ukrainian translator is selected based on their experience and special areas of expertise.

Translation Confidentiality

All translators are bound by a commercial confidentiality and corporate nondisclosure agreement.
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