Catalan is a separate Romance language.

It emerged in the 6th century and by the late Middle Ages was spoken in an area stretching from Valencia in Spain as far as Provence in the south of France, in the Balearic Islands and Sardinia. The Castilian kings waged war repeatedly on Catalonia in a bid to destroy the Catalan language and culture. The suppression of the Catalan culture under Franco’s dictatorship, following the end of the Spanish Civil War in 1939, was strongly resisted in Catalonia and the Basque Country. The end of the dictatorship set the scene for a huge revival of Catalan culture and today the Catalan language (català) is spoken by 11 million people in Spain, Andorra, Italy and France, including 8.2 million for whom it is their mother tongue.It is one of the official languages of Andorra, parts of Spain (Catalonia, the majority of the Valencia region and the Balearics) and the town of Alghero in Italy.

Catalan politicians are keen to communicate in their mother tongue when they are abroad as this is a means of expressing the independent national identity of Catalonia. This is the case at the regular meetings of the Four Motors for Europe, for example, which bring together the prime ministers of Baden-Württemberg, Rhône-Alpes, Lombardy and Catalonia. The same is true of all events organized by Catalonia’s missions in Berlin, Paris, London and New York, where the languages spoken are Catalan and the respective foreign language.

Catalan businessmen and women also prefer to speak Catalan abroad and are very grateful when this is possible thanks to the provision of interpreters. In Germany the organization COPCA is responsible for promoting good commercial relations between Catalan and German companies.

As an interpreter working between both Catalan and German and Catalan and English I have often worked at meetings of the Four Motors for Europe, at Catalonia’s missions abroad and for COPCA.

Ana Hernanz