CIT offers Pennsylvania German interpreters and translators with legal, medical and specialty experience, including criminal and civil matters, employee meetings, engineering, patent cases, labor disputes, immigration and more.

Although based in Los Angeles, CIT offers comprehensive Pennsylvania German language services including interpretation, translation and transcription, 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, worldwide. Our interpreters and translators are native speakers who have been screened, certified, have provided credentials, field tested, and kept up to date with developments in both English and the Pennsylvania German language through means such as lectures, conferences, and travel. CIT’s Pennsylvania German language interpreters and translators possess in depth knowledge of the Pennsylvania German language, as well as of the culture and history of the Pennsylvania German people, allowing them to provide informed and complete interpretation and translation.

The Pennsylvania German Language

Pennsylvania German, also known as Pennsylvania Dutch, is spoken by about 250,000 people in Pennsylvania, Ohio and Indiana along with in Ontario, Canada. It is a variety of the German language. Pennsylvania German came to the United States, particularly Pennsylvania, Maryland, Virginia and North Carolina in the late 1600s and early 1700s, carried by immigrants from Germany, France and Switzerland. In the early 1900s, the Pennsylvania German language was not used as much anymore, especially in urban areas. After World War II, the same occurred in rural areas and the use of the Pennsylvania German language declined as well. Today, Pennsylvania German is used largely in Amish and Mennonite communities. However, most Pennsylvania Germans who have assimilated. Even with this, they still hold on to several cultural identities, such as cooking and decorative traditions. There are some identifying factors in the Pennsylvania Germans, particulalry in the Amish. For example, clothing are plain and modest. Women will wear head coverings whereas men will wear beards (but not a mustache) once married. They will travel in horse drawn buggies and live a strict, religious lifestyle.

Pennsylvania Germans had been persecuted in their homeland. This is what drew them to Pennsylvania: the ability to live more freely under tolerance in William Penn’s land. The first Pennsylvania German immigrant was Francis Daniel Pastorius, who directed a group of German Quakers to Philadelphia in 1683. There, they settled land and named it Germantown. Not long after were the new arriving immigrants mainly from the Lutheran and Reformed churches. By the time the American Revolution had struck, the Pennsylvania German population had risen to be 1/3 the population of Pennsylvania.

Pennsylvania German comes from the Palatinate German language. There are several similarities between the two. Today, there is still a Pennsylvania German news paper, titled Hiwwe wie Driwwe, which is published biannually, containing poetry and prose in Pennsylvania German. There are two main writing systems in Pennsylvania German. The first is based on American English, including standard American English spellings. Another way of spelling in Pennsylvania German is through Standard German rules of spelling. The spelling system, or orthography, is based on the Buffington-Barba system. There are several loan words in Pennsylvania German from English.