Danish (dansk) is a North Germanic language with approximately 5 million speakers. It is an official language of the EU and the Faroe Islands and a minority language in Iceland and Greenland, where it is still used today as a working language. It also has minority language status in the State of Schleswig-Holstein in Germany, where there are 50,000 Germans of Danish descent. Danish law does not specifically state that Danish is the official language of Denmark. However, the majority of Danish speakers are Danes; over 98% of the population of Denmark speak Danish. Danish, Swedish and Norwegian are all mutually intelligible to a certain extent – Norwegian Bokmål and written Danish are particularly similar.

Danish is derived from the East Norse dialect group and was influenced by Middle Low German, due to its proximity to Germany. Danish was also the official language in Norway until 1830 and in Iceland until 1944. Old East Norse was once widely spoken in northeastern counties of England after the Danish Vikings invaded. In fact, the suffix by, meaning ‘town’, has survived in England from the Viking rule, for example Whitby and Derby, and here in Cardiff Womanby Street, where BLS is located, is believed to be a Viking name. English and Danish are therefore related languages, and some Danish words are easily understandable for English speakers in their written form, for example ‘have’, ‘over’, ‘under’, ‘give’ and ‘kat’. However, they are much more difficult to understand in their spoken form. English words that have now been accepted into the Danish language include ‘bus’, ‘film’ and ‘slum’.

There are three main Danish dialects: Island Danish, Eastern Danish and Jutlandic but since the 1960s the use of these dialects has declined. Standard Danish is based on the Danish spoken in Copenhagen, as 25% of the population live in Copenhagen or the surrounding areas and the majority of the government offices are located in Copenhagen. Danish uses the Latin alphabet with an additional three letters: æ, ø and å. The Latin alphabet was introduced to Denmark by Christians, prior to which the runic alphabet had been used. In Danish, verbs are conjugated according to tense but not according to person or number. Today, the Dansk Sprognævn (Danish Language Committee) is responsible for regulating the language. The first Danish book was published in 1495 and the famous fairy tale author, Hans Christian Andersen, was Danish.

Business Language Services Ltd. (BLS) specialises in Danish translation (both English to Danish and Danish to English). We have a broad network of highly experienced, qualified professional Indonesian translators, who only translate into their mother tongue. What’s more, all our Danish translations are proofread by a second, independent linguist. BLS has an extensive database of Danish interpreters, selected according to their expertise, specialist knowledge, friendly attitude and professional reliability. BLS also works with some of the best Danish language tutors, enabling us to offer you tailor-made courses to match your precise needs and suit your ongoing work commitments.

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