What language should you translate to localize in Greece?
Despite the fact that Greek is nowadays spoken by somewhat fewer people than in the distant times when it served as a lingua franca for a wide continuum of peoples and places, knowing the language remains in many respects a great asset with a payoff that extends far beyond what relates to living and working in modern Greece and Cyprus. This is so both because it makes much easier to understand many technical terms and ordinary words of a Greek origin that have become an integral part of other languages spoken in Europe and around the globe and because it provides access to the original text of a massive collection of writings that have long become known for their fascinating culture and far-reaching intellectual depth. Although this does not mean that knowing modern Greek suffices for a professional translation of texts that might span as far in time and place as the late Bronze Age, a wide-ranging antiquity, the medieval times of the Byzantine Empire and its early modern aftermaths, and the ritual language still in use by the Greek Orthodox and other Christian Churches, it certainly helps in case one is interested in mastering these versions of the language as well, as is even more the case for people who follow the opposite route, namely, from ancient to middle and modern Greek. And to add further to its current presence, Greek is an official language of the European Union; a recognized minority language in Albania, Armenia, Hungary, Italy, Romania, Turkey and Ukraine; and de facto spoken both by other Hellenophone populations and members of an ever-present Greek diaspora formed through various waves of migration in every corner of the earth, and by a considerable portion of other nationals in the Balkans who regularly cross Greece’s northern border in order to work, study, do some shopping or simply enjoy their time in Greece.
In present-day Greece things are luckily much simpler in what has to do with language. The vast majority of permanent residents use the standardized version of modern Greek taught at schools on an everyday basis, which stands in some contrast to Cyprus, where the regional variant prevails in informal everyday speech. As for regional dialects of the language in present-day Greece, some of them are still in currency in informal speech between their community members and are not always readily accessible to thirds, as is the case with the Cretan dialect, with the many Cypriots living in Greece, and with the Pontic dialect of emigrant Greeks with a descent from modern north-central Turkey. Other than these though, most of the smaller regional dialects or dialects of emigrant Greeks nowadays retain few and enclaved numbers of users and are on the verge of extinction. Among them one finds the Constantinople and Cappadocian dialects of displaced Anatolian Greeks, the Tsakonian dialect in eastern Peloponnese, a centuries-long domesticated Albanian dialect known as Arvanite, and, further in the north, other domesticated Aromanian dialects of old pastoral clans, the language of northern Greek Jews known as Ladino, and small dialects that draw from Slavic and Bulgarian. Furthermore, the north-east includes an officially acknowledged ‘Muslim minority’ with mostly Turk-speaking members and has a considerable Roma population who speak a regional version of the Romani language; whereas a small number of old displaced Armenian emigrants have been long preserving their own language as well.
This is still not where the linguistic landscape in Greece comes to a close. English literacy is highly common for people aged lower than 40, since most Greeks supplement their formal schooling while in K-12 and afterwards with long-year private tutor lessons of English and, quite often, of an additional European language. The main immigrant group comes from Albania and other than that present-day immigrants in Greece mostly come from parts of West and South Asia, Southeastern, Eastern and Caucasian Europe, and Africa.Kostantinos Bizas, D.Phil. in Political Thought & Conceptual History
Following a bitter one-and-a-half-century-long struggle between proponents of scholar and vernacular idioms as standard-setters for the language of the modern Greek state, which even entailed physical losses, ex-communications, and explicit constitutional bans on the way to an ultimate showdown between a ‘purist’ and a ‘demotic’ version of the language, the issue was resolved with the advent of the present-day Third Hellenic Republic. Specifically, the issue was left outside the Republic’s new Constitution, and in its place Article 2 of Law 309/1976 stated that “Starting from the school season 1976 – 1977, Modern Greek is the language of instruction […] in general education. Modern Greek is understood as the demotic language that has been forged as the commonly embraced instrument of expression by the Greek people and by the nation’s competent authors, set up beyond colloquials and extremes.”
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Cretan, Tsakonian, Cappadocian, Maniot, Yevanic, Pontic.
Turkish, Macedonian, Armenian, Albanian, Romani, Bulgarian, Aromanian, Ladino.
High proficiency (EF) – 14 of 112 countries/regions in the world- 12/35 position in Europe.
Population: 10,64 m
Population density: 83/km2
GDP: 214.87 billion USD (2021)
GDP per capita: 20,192.6 USD (2021)
Exports: $35.8 billion (2020)
Internet users: 82.2% penetration, 8.50 million
Unemployment rate: 14.7% (2021)
Urbanisation: 79.39% (2018)
Literacy: 99.15 % (2020)
Arabic numerals with comma as decimal separator, space or dot as thousands separator.
Date format: dd – mm – yyyy
Time: 24h time system
Country code: 0030
Language data sources: Worldatlas/Britannica//EF/Wikipedia; Demography data sources: IMF/Worldometers; Conventions data source: Wikipedia; Economy data sources: WTO/OEC/CIA/Esomar/Datareportal; Statistics data sources: Datareportal/WorldBank/UN/UNESCO/CEIC/IMF/Culturalatlas/Commisceoglobal
Facts and data
$56.6 billion (2020). Crude Petroleum ($6.07B), Refined Petroleum ($2.56B), Packaged Medicaments ($2.43B), Nitrogen Heterocyclic Compounds ($1.72B), and Cars ($1.37B), importing mostly from Germany ($6.68B), China ($5.56B), Italy ($4.8B), Netherlands ($3.27B), and France ($2.75B).
Financial inclusion factors (over 15 years of age)
• 65% have an account with a financial institution
• 12% have a credit card
• 26% make online purchases
Ease of doing business
It is moderately easy to conduct business (rated 68.4 out of 100) ranked 34th out of 34 OECD and high-income countries ranked 79th out of 190 countries worldwide (2019, World Bank)
Global Innovation Index
Ranked 28th out of 39 European countries, and 44th out of 132 worldwide.
The Global Innovation Index captures the innovation
ecosystem performance of 132 economies and tracks the most recent global innovation trends.
$35.8 billion (2020). Refined Petroleum ($6.88B), Packaged Medicaments ($3.3B), Aluminium Plating ($701M), Computers ($626M), and Non-fillet Fresh Fish ($613M), exporting mostly to Italy ($3.39B), Germany ($2.62B), France ($2.15B), Cyprus ($2B), and Bulgaria ($1.71B).
Main local online stores
Amazon.it, Apple.com, Zalando.it, Privalia.com, Esselungacasa.it, Shein.com, Unieuro.it, Eprice.it, Yoox.com, Amazon.com
‘Moderately free’ (rated 65.4 out of 100) ranked 38th amongst 45 countries in Europe ranked 77th worldwide out of 186 countries (2019, Heritage Foundation and Wall Street Journal)
Service Imports (2016)
Service Exports (2016)
Most complex products by PCI
Product Complexity Index measures the knowledge intensity of a product by considering the knowledge intensity of its exporters
Most Specialized Products by RCA Index
Specialisation is measured using Revealed Comparative Advantage, an index that takes the ratio between Greece observed and expected exports in each product
Export Opportunities by Relatedness
Relatedness measures the distance between a country's current exports and each product, the barchart show only products that Greece is not specialized in
Share of payment methods offered by corporations in Greece in 2019, by method
Sources: IMF; PYMNTS; EZB; Bank of Greece
Share of cash in total payment transactions in Greece from 2004 to 2018
Source: EOS Gruppe
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Media language Greek, English
Television is Greece’s medium of choice, followed by the press, the internet and radio. News, variety programmes, comedy and game shows dominate peak-time TV. There are about a dozen private TV channels and myriad private radios. The media have been badly hit by Greece’s economic, social and political crisis. Facing declining circulation figures and advertising revenues, some outlets have imposed cuts or closed altogether. In June 2013, the conservative-led government abruptly took state broadcaster ERT off the air and dismissed its 2,600 staff, citing endemic mismanagement. The move drew international criticism and sparked a domestic political crisis. Some of the sacked staff occupied ERT’s offices and continued to make internet broadcasts. A replacement public broadcaster, New Hellenic Radio, Internet and TV (NERIT), made its debut in May 2014. Media rights group Reporters Without Borders has alleged conflicts of interest in the senior management of some media outlets, saying wealthy owners and state officials have tried to consolidate and extend their power through the media. The watchdog says journalists are often targeted by police when covering demonstrations and have received threats from the far right, the extreme left and anarchists.
ERT – public, operates three national networks
ANT1 – national, private
Mega TV – national, private
Alpha TV – national, private station
Star TV – national, private
SKAI TV – national, private Open – national, private
Media data source: BBC
82.2% penetration, 8.50 million
Share of web traffic by device
39.96% mobile phones, 57.57% computers (laptops and desktops), 2.42% tablet devices, others 0.05%
Median speed of mobile Internet connection
Median speed of fixed Internet connection
Mobile connection as a percentage of total population
Percentage of mobile connections that are broadband (3G-5G)
Most popular web search engines
Google (97.31%), Bing (1.84%), Yahoo (0.56%), Duckduckgo (0.14%), Yandex (0.07%), Petal Search (0.03%)
Most used social media
Facebook (80.95%), Instagram (7.98%), Pinterest (5.01%), Twitter (2.79%), YouTube (2.52%), Tumblr (0.28%)
81 yrs (2020)
7.84% of GDP (2018)
Average age of the population
45.6 yrs (2020)
Religion is vital to Greek culture, but not significant in terms of relationships in everyday life. It is vital when it comes to tradition and personal faith, but not in the workplace.
Greece is in the process of becoming a multicultural country. Many immigrants live and work in Greece, but people are not extremely tolerant of the situation because of political and historical reasons. You may hear racist remarks addressed to minority groups, but it is coming from a nation that was homogenous for centuries.
Graduates (tertiary education)
Greece has the highest enrolment rates in bachelor’s programs of all OECD countries among 19- 24 year-olds and the second highest rates among 25-28 year-olds. Enrolment rates in master’s programs, however, are below the OECD and EU averages among 19-28 year-olds. Overall tertiary enrolment rates for 19-20 year-olds and 21-22 year-olds are the fourth highest across OECD countries and the rate for 23-34 year-olds is the third highest (Figure 1). Women make up 52% of new entrants to tertiary education. Between 2008 and 2018, there has been a noticeable increase in the share of 25-34 year-olds with tertiary education in Greece, from 28% to 43%; the increase was greater among women (from 32% to 51%) than among men (from 25% to 35%), leading to a higher share of tertiary-educated women than men. Women have also a higher completion rate (81% compared to 74%) at the bachelor’s level. (2019)
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Languages and dialects in Greece
Slavic and Albanian
Slavic and Greek
Albanian and Greek
Aromanian and Greek
Slavic and Aromanian
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Photo credit: Aris Sfakianakis, Unsplash