If you are considering expanding your organization’s reach into Ukraine, it is essential that you are prepared to meet language challenges. It may be tempting to think that you can solve language barriers with online translation tools, but the truth is that these types of automated language programs are incapable of retaining the tone and communicating cultural sensitivity. These are important factors if you wish to engage in effective and meaningful communication with this country and this culture.

This quick guide will help you better understand the different languages that are spoken in Ukraine. This can help you better plan out your language approach.

Whether your communications are used for business, education, or other endeavors, the goals should be productive, human communication. Keep reading to learn more about translation services and specifically how they can help you reach the country of Ukraine.

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Think Culture Not Language

When most people think about language, they are simply thinking about different words to replace the words of their language. This is translation at its very basic level. This is not the most effective way to address communication on a global scale, though.

To communicate effectively, you need to think of culture, rather than language. Anytime you are dealing with a person or a group that speaks a language different from yours, you are also dealing with a culture that is different from yours as well.

When you address culture rather than simple language, you will be able to start truly connecting with the people you are interacting with. This is the only way to form relationships and truly accomplish your goals. This applies to all areas as well. Business, humanitarian efforts, education, and other types of interaction will all benefit from this cultural approach.

Ukrainian Culture and Language

With that in mind, let’s discuss Ukraine. Ukraine is one single country, but within Ukraine, there are different cultures and even different languages that are spoken regularly. If you have ambitions of expanding the reach of your organization into Ukraine, it is important that you are educated on these factors.

Ukraine is linguistically diverse because of its history. Ukraine, after all, was not always Ukraine. Ukraine evolved over time through connections with Russia, Hungary, Romania, and Poland. Because these connections were in the not-so-distant past, there are still strong cultural and linguistic ties to these other countries.

Most notably, Russia was a strong influence in Ukraine. This is due to their close proximity to one another as well as their political connections of the past.

Now that you know a little more about Ukraine, let’s look at some of the main languages spoken in this country.

Ukrainian

Ukrainian is often considered the dominant language of Ukraine. Ukrainian is used in many legal dealings, education, and government. In fact, the government of Ukraine highly encourages the use of the Ukrainian language in hopes that over time it will be in fact the dominant language.

Russian

Closely tied to Ukrainian is the Russian language. Although the government hopes that soon only Ukrainian will be spoken, there is no denying that Russian is a major linguistic element in the country. This is so much so the fact that most notices and even educational materials are still offered in Russian as well as Ukrainian.

This is due in part because many older people in Ukraine speak mostly Russian. This is also due in part because the many people living in Ukraine that once resided in Russia.

Providing Russian materials and communications is essential to effective communication within Ukraine today.

For businesses and organizations that wish to expand into this part of the world, you must consider both Ukrainian and Russian to be important languages of the area.

Convenient Similarities

Luckily, Russian and Ukrainian are very similar languages. Both are from the Slavic family, and both are considered to be Eastern Slavic.

Ukrainian and Russian have almost identical grammar and vocabulary. In fact, the two languages are so similar that some even claim that they are mutually intelligible. This means that a monolingual person understands both languages even if they are not able to speak or write both languages.

Experts have determined that Ukrainian and Russian are 90% alike.

Regional Differences

Variations tend to be regional. There is also a multitude of dialects within this Russian/Ukrainian family of languages.

It is estimated that the majority of Russian speakers are located in the eastern part of Ukraine. This is not surprising as this is the border that Ukraine shares with Russia. The densest populations of Russian speakers are located in the Donbas and Crimean regions.

Kyiv is one major city in which the majority of people speak Russian.

English

When compared to other European countries, there is a relatively low percentage of English speakers in Ukraine. This is due in part to the complicated nature of linguistics in Russia as well as the political views of the west.

English is gaining traction, though, especially among the younger generation. Due to the fact that the younger generation consumes a great deal of western media, most young Ukrainians can understand English and carry on a basic conversation in broken English.If you are looking for translation services to help you better communicate with the Ukrainian culture, it is imperative that you seek out professional translation services that understand the rich cultural and linguistic layout of this country.

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