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Albanian translations: the Albanian language and culture in Switzerland

Albanian translations: the Albanian language and culture in Switzerland

Përshëndetje! That is ‘Hello’ in Albanian. Did you know that Albanian is spoken as a first language by almost 180,000 people in Switzerland, making it the sixth most common foreign language in the country? But how come so many Albanian-speaking people live in Switzerland?

We take a look at the Albanian language and culture in detail and explain why your Albanian translations are in good hands with SwissGlobal.

The Albanian community in Switzerland

The first Albanians came to Switzerland from Kosovo and Macedonia in the 1970s. Most of them were men, working in industry and construction and staying in Switzerland as immigrant workers. During the 1980s, their families began to arrive to join them. A majority of the Kosovars did not immigrate until the 1990s, when they were forced to flee their country as a result of the Balkan War triggered by the collapse of the former Yugoslavia. They applied for asylum as refugees and Switzerland accepted them on humanitarian grounds. The Kosovar state expressed its thanks for this acceptance during the Kosovo War in the form of a plaque, which was dedicated in Zurich in 2008.

The number of Albanian-speaking immigrants continues to rise steadily to this day. In Switzerland, they are one of the largest population groups in the country, alongside Italian, German and Portuguese citizens.

The plaque from the Kosovar state in Zurich. Source: Wikipedia

Interesting facts about the Albanian language and culture

Let’s begin with a little geography lesson about Albania and Kosovo: Albania is a Balkan state in South-East Europe and its capital is Tirana. Kosovo is a de facto regime in the Balkans. Its capital is Pristina and it borders Albania, Macedonia, Serbia and Montenegro. Exactly nine years after the Kosovo War, the south Serbian province declared its independence from Serbia on 17 February 2008. In Switzerland, most immigrants come from Kosovo. They are referred to as Kosovars or Kosovo-Albanians.

Language differences between Albania and Kosovo

Around 7.5 million people worldwide speak Albanian. Albanian is the official language of Albania and Kosovo, and a joint official language in North Macedonia amongst other places. In Turkey, Greece and southern Italy, Albanian is a minority language. The Albanian language is divided into two dialect groups: Gheg and Tosk. There are significant differences in the phonetics, morphology and lexemes of the two dialects. In the south (Albania, southern Italy and Greece), Tosk, also known as Standard Albanian, is spoken. In the north (Kosovo and Macedonia), Gheg is spoken. The majority of Kosovar immigrants in Switzerland also speak Gheg.

What distinguishes the Albanian language?

The Albanian language is an Indo-European protolanguage in the Indo-Germanic family of languages. It nonetheless forms its own branch in the Indo-European language tree and therefore is not closely related to any other language in that family. This property makes the language unique and, at the same time, shows how there is no getting around needing a professional specialised translation for Albanian translations.

A little grammar – where does the article go?

Albanian grammar shares some rules with Greek, Romanian and South Slavic grammar. There are plenty of aspects to be taken into consideration when translating, such as the following rule:

Unlike in English, the definite article is attached directly to the end of the noun. A few examples:

Masculine nouns end in -i or -u:

  • The pencil – lapsi
  • The doctor – mjeku

Feminine nouns end in -a or -ja:

  • The sister – motra
  • The flower – lulja

A few useful Albanian expressions…

Good morningMirëmëngjes
How are you?Si je? / Qysh je?
PleaseTë lutem
Thank youFaleminderit
Excuse meMë fal
Good eveningMirëmbrëma
GoodnightNatën e mirë

Cultural facts about the Albanian people

Tradition is writ large

Albanian culture is marked by traditions and values that are passed down from generation to generation. Family is seen as very important, which is why Albanian families are particularly closely knit. People try to help each other out regardless of the situation and guests are received with exceptional hospitality. On special occasions such as weddings, people wear traditional outfits and dance to Albanian folk music. Albanian nationals bring these traditions with them to Switzerland and thus maintain close connections with their homeland. Nevertheless, second-generation Albanians see Switzerland as their home, and are happy to spend their holidays in Kosovo with relatives.

Professional Albanian translations at SwissGlobal

Albanian is one of the many groups of languages spoken in Switzerland. The Albanian community plays an important role in making Switzerland a multicultural place.

Do you need an Albanian translation? Then you have come to the right place. SwissGlobal is an ISO-certified language service provider that can guarantee your documents will be handled with total confidentiality. We work exclusively with specialist translators who translate into their mother tongue. Whether your documents deal with banking and finance, law or the pharmaceutical or healthcare industry, our team of language experts can cover any specialist subject.

Contact us for your Albanian translation requirements. We look forward to receiving your order request. Mirupafshim!