Czech and Slovak to English Translator

I have translated in these language combinations for more than 25 years. A few of my customers have even referred to me as Shakespeare! Over the years I have built up a network of trusted colleagues, so I can handle any project or subject.

  • native English speaker with more than 25 years of experience translating from Czech and Slovak into English (also occasionally from French - studied the latter for 12 years in Canada)

  • during this time have built up an extensive database of more than 7,000 translators the world over, so any other language combination, including into Czech, is not a problem

  • with a selected team of translators I can handle large projects in short periods of time (such as some very large projects I have managed in the past)

  • check out a long list of satisfied customers below!

Happy to offer a free translation to show you my abilities and style of writing!


Queens University, Kingston, Ontario, Canada

- Bachelors of Honours in Economics

Work Experience

  • for the past 25 years owned and operated a Translation Agency during which time I have translated (and proofread) for various customers and other translation agencies (details below)

  • prior to that for three years I had worked in the most varied of fields in Canada while paying off student loans. This has given me good insight into how various industries operate, while my general gypsy lifestyle gives me valuable insight into how to word things into an articulate format.

Personal Subjects of Translation

  • marketing (preferred), general

  • economics and finance

  • computers (hardware and software) and telecommunications

  • technical (I also studied engineering and understand technical matters)

  • pharmaceutical

Available Software

  • Word XP, WordPerfect

  • PDF Writer to edit PDF files

  • Corel, Adobe (PageMaker, FrameMaker, InDesign etc.)

  • Transit, Trados

  • FineReader OCR

Prekladatel dela preklady z cestiny do anglictiny

Karel Kosman
my life in Prague

[email protected]
or contact form


Czech-Republic-coat-of-arms.png (146975 bytes)


Owning a translation agency gives me access to thousands of translators and the experience to handle larger projects and multiple translators, when required (including other language combinations). I have extensive experience with Transit (translation memory software) and farming out large projects to many translators, using the software to unify terminology and proofreaders to keep quality consistent. My largest project to date has been 5 million words in 11 languages which needed to be translated within one month for Dupont.
I can also use my resources for help with terminology in areas I am not so familiar with, or to farm out such translations to these translators directly.


  • Transperfect (until present)
    Translation and proofreading of primarily medical documents.

  • The European Union (January to July, 2009)
    A big project for the Czech ministry concerning the upgrading of sewage systems in Moravia and funded by the EU. Very strict terminological requirements, aided by translation memory software.
    Reference: - Lucie Kraglova

  • (spring, 2008)
    Translated most of their pharmaceutical and marketing material, and in the process built up a large translation memory of confirmed and researched pharmaceutical terms.
    Reference: Ben Tallis - bctallis [AT]

  • During this interim period I managed many large multi-language projects and only had time to translate for some of my regular clients.

  • British Council (May 2002 to Dec. 2004)
    Monthly magazine publication in both Czech and English of cultural events in the Czech Republic.
    Reference: Radka Zoubelová - Národní 10, Prague 1

  • Prague Breweries a.s. (majority owned by Bass of Britain) - June 16, 1997 to 2001
    Translated about 2500 words per day of newspaper articles concerning the beer brewing industry. Reference: Diana Dobalova, press spokeswoman for Prague Breweries, tl. 5719 1602

  • Metal Consult a.s.
    Translated several 50,000 word documents and numerous smaller documents concerning the construction of metallurgical plants by NOVÁ HUT a.s. OSTRAVA for ICF Kaiser Netherlands B.V., an American based company.
    Reference: Mr. Kostálek, Mr. Saidl, tl. 2422 9010, 2421 2067

  • Czech Ministry of Industry and Trade
    25,000 word report describing the Czech economic situation, July 4, 1997.
    Reference: Mr. Plandor, tl. 2485 3157, 2485 3137

  • Czech Statistics Office
    20,000 page official statistical report of the Czech Republic economy.

Other companies for whom I have translated:

  • BMC a.s., export arm of TCEHCOMALT, Mrs. Kociánová, tl.: 440 16 103

  • McCann-Erickson, Ariane Synovitz, tl.: 37 08 73

  • AMI Communications

  • CKD Praha DIZ

  • WG&M

  • Hill & Knowlton

  • Coca Cola East Central Europe

  • and many translation agencies, in the most varied subjects

You may view my remaining skills through the
online CV resume of Karel Kosman

Experience from a Czech to English Translations Translator

The Czech Republic was once part of the Austro-Hungarian Empire, which was notorious for its bureaucracy, argued as one reason why bureaucracy has become an integral part of the Czech mentality. This was further entrenched under half a century of Communist, central-management rule. Czech bureaucracy It was quite the struggle to set up shop when I first arrived here shortly after the switch to a free market, such that I joked one had to get a stamp on a paper in order to get another stamp on another paper before grabbing the third piece of paper in order to wipe one's own arse. Over the years procedures have slowly softened their corners, even though it had continued to be a painful process to watch. For example, in the beginning of the free enterprise translation business here in the Czech Republic, it was common that agencies would require the same number of words in the translated document as in the source Czech. Czech does not have articles such as 'a' or 'the', and for other reasons I generally find that a translation into English generally has about 20% more words than the source Czech document. Although this level of stringency has abated, still I occasionally come into conflict with Czech agencies or customers who complain that I had taken too many liberties converting their precious words into another language. They failed to realise that it is not their own words that our so precious but rather, from a marketing perspective at least, it is the perception of their target audience that is more important. After all, is not the purpose of most translation to sell something? Hence, the customer is king.

Hence it has been a frustrating experience working for Czech customers, because Czechs can be proud and perfectionist, whereby they are convinced their perfect Czech presentation will sound equally perfect in another language if translated perfectly. Or closer to a word-for-word translation, which can be painfully catastrophic. The trick is to grasp the original concept and write it from absolute scratch. From the gut.

Some Facts Regarding the Czech Language

The earliest preserved written Czech is from the 13th century, mostly in the form of hymns transcribed in Bohemia. The first books were printed in the 1470s, also in Bohemia.

Official Czech grammar was first formed in 1533 by Benes Optat, Petr Gzel and Vaclav Filomates, and the first systematic general grammar was formulated in 1603 by Vavrinec Benedikti of Nudozer.

The Czech language always pronounces its stress on the first syllable of every word.

Czech grammarThe Czech language has 4 genders (neuter, feminine and 2 masculine - animate, inanimate), 7 cases (Nominative, Genitive, Dative, Accusative, Instrumental, Locative, Vocative) and 2 numbers – whether the object of the word is “breathing” or “not breathing”. This creates more combinations and permutations than any other language, making it a very difficult language to master. Within a sentence the ending of almost every word changes depending on what it refers to (an adjective referring to a word having a certain case and gender would change according to the prescribed rules). Many Czechs find this level of exactness and detailed interconnections between words “beautiful”. One advantage is that it can make legal and legislative text more precise, requiring noticeably fewer words than would the English language, for example. But it also requires an intelligent mind and someone who has sufficiently mastered the language to formulate the sentence properly.

99% of the Czech population is literate and they are very proud of their language. It is perhaps this accustomed diligence to detail that has slowed the industry's progress. Or if not the progress of the translation industry than progress of those who utilise its resources while presenting themselves more poorly on the foreign stage.

History of the Czech Language

The Czech language belongs to the western group of Slavic languages, along with Slovak, Polish, Pomeranian, high and low Sorbian, and Polabian (now extinct). It is also loosely related to the east and south Slavic language groups.

The Czech language diverged from the other Slavic languages between the tenth and sixteenth centuries through several major sound changes. Closer to the sixteenth century, the Czech language also lost the dual number and 2 Slavic past tenses, while the multitude of declensions and significance of the verbal aspect increased.

Czech dialectsThe Czech language is comprised of four major dialects - Bohemian, Central Moravian, Eastern Moravian, and Silesian. Standard written Czech is based on the Prague dialect, its colloquial form referred to as Common Czech, which has its origins in Central Bohemia. While the Bohemian dialects are more uniform due to the influence of Common Czech, the Silesian dialects are most diverse and approach in similarity to the Polish language. The eastern Moravian dialect is something between Czech and Slovak.

Overall, the Czech language has several core influences, the strongest of which are Old Church Slavonic, Latin and German.

The Written Language of Czech

Until the end of the 13th century, the Czech language was confined within the limitations of the Latin alphabet when describing the various sounds not found in Latin. One in particular is a tightly rolled r not present in any other language (not even Slovakian) and which Czechs get a great kick out of when listening to foreigners attempting to pronounce it. They often proudly declare that it is the toughest consonant to pronounce in the world. As more complex texts appeared, a more complex writing system became evident and digraphs and trigraphs were introduced as a means to represent sounds not found in the Latin language. Around the fifteenth century Jan Hus, a religious reformer, introduced a diacritical writing system, adding certain symbols above selected characters (c, d, n, r, s, t, a, e, i, o, u, y) to depict the string of letters formed from the digraphs and trigraphs and to distinguish between the palatal and palatalized consonants and long vowels. The 16th century saw the addition of a long u. The only digraph to survive the reforms is ch, a high pitched sound one makes by blowing air between their tongue and the upper ceiling of their mouth.

The modern Czech alphabet looks as follows:

czech alphabet

Inevitably, all these new characters have posed a problem for webmasters and programmers, as the original founders of the internet did not anticipate or plan for its extensive use in all the world’s languages. Many of these Czech characters require 3 bytes to describe, as opposed to the customary 1 for the standard Latin character. There are also different code pages, which can often conflict with one another.

Development of the Czech Translation Industry

Under communism, the English language was shunned as part of the government’s propaganda machine against the “evil western capitalists”, but following the Prague Spring and the fall of communism, there was an explosion in demand for the English language, as Czech companies sought to establish new business relations and the general population, in particular the young, were willing to embrace the west as part of their desire to rid themselves of the shackles of the previous regime. Furthermore, as multinational companies moved in from the west while racing to parcel out the newly opened market east of the Berlin Wall, Czechs had to quickly learn English if they wanted to share in the lucrative positions offered by those global concerns.

Czech car industryOn the country’s entry into the EU there was a further explosion in demand in the form of legislation on both sides requiring translation.

Czechs are generally diligent, hardworking and technically minded, and the country’s close proximity to Germany and its position in the heart of Europe has attracted much in foreign investments, many automobile makers setting up shop there and which has resulted in many spin-off industries. This too has had an affect on increased demand for translations between Czech and English.

Interesting Czech Translation Links - The dictionary I like to use the most for my translations. Press on Slovnik (meaning “dictionary”) and then either CJ > AJ (Czech to English) or AJ > CJ (English to Czech). It also has many other language dictionaries relating to Czech. - Another online dictionary similar to the one above but with English menus. - Translate text and web pages between Czech and English online for free! You can also translate web pages - just select the URL option and enter the address of the page to be translated. - This travel related dictionary database is from the freeware multilingual program Travlang Online Ergane. It contains 1900 terms. Also see travlang's Czech to English Dictionary. - Has an keyboard for those without a Czech one installed on their computer. Several language combinations, including English to Czech. - A selection of dictionaries, including one from English into Czech and Czech to English ( - LingvoSoft Online English to Czech put the most advanced language management and communication solutions at the tips of your fingers. The modern and convenient way to manage your multilingual communication needs they provide both state of the art text-to speech capabilities and full English transcriptions so you will always know the correct pronunciation of any word. A powerful and sophisticated service, the Online Dictionaries provide millions of combined entries accessed via a smart, user-friendly interface that is second to none. Some highlights include a convenient auto complete function, word tips, an in-line Thesaurus and instant reverse-translation. And to make it even more convenient, it even remembers your preferred dictionary and translation history eliminating the need to select your preferred language pair and direction every time you use it. Able to pronounce words, its innovative Text-to-Speech feature is built on advanced human voice modeling. Now you no longer need to speak out transcriptions - simply select a word and, with a touch of the screen, have your device pronounce it for you. - Wikiled Free Online multilanguage Dictionary Translation from Czech to English for word. - Links to some Czech literature translated into English. - Download our free dictionary (for Windows) and browse both the Czech-English and the English-Czech lists. Look up a word, add or modify an entry, and learn words at your own rhythm from a personal learning list. An online version is also available, so you can browse the dictionary without downloading it.


Background picture: a mosaic of an archway in the Prague castle.
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Czech to English Translation Video