Looking back at 2016: 13 reasons we loved last year

No. 1: We had the opportunity to continue working with so many amazing people. We learn something from each and every person and have a huge amount of respect for everyone who decides to learn this weird and wonderful language.

No. 2: Having successfully passed their Simplified Naturalisation interviews, a few of our learners became Hungarian citizens. Congratulations to Elena, Joe, Hunter and Brian – we know how incredibly hard you have all worked so you totally deserve this.

No. 3: We had quite a few people who passed their citizenship interviews this year. Now we can’t wait to hear about the positive outcome of the application process and hope they will get invited to an oath ceremony soon.

No. 4: During the summer, Renata spent two weeks in Pécs, attending the University’s training course for teachers. This fantastic course was delivered by Szilvia Szita and Kata Pelcz, authors of the MagyarOK book series and we very much think these are the best books currently on the market and the course itself was very informative and inspirational.

No. 5: We continued translating your important documents. Amongst others, we translated all sorts of certificates (birth-, marriage- and death certificates and also divorce decrees), contracts and personal letters. We very much enjoy the thorough work every translation needs and hope to translate more of these documents in 2017. Every single document is worked on by two people: one translating and the other one proofreading the translation. We have our own stamp and each translation we provide is a certified translation accepted by Consulates around the world.

No. 6: We continued to deliver English lessons and started preparing people for the Life in the UK test. Passing this test is needed in order to apply for British Citizenship. Both of us being dual British-Hungarian citizens, we very much believe dual citizenship is useful and important for every Hungarian living in the UK and this is even more the case now the UK has voted for Brexit.

No. 7: We found ourselves branching out in new directions, since several of our students asked us to provide them instruction and advice on how to write official letters in Hungarian, and also to help them prepare for the oath ceremony, so that they would be able to take part in this special event feeling confident and proud, which they did!

No. 8: There were several occasions last year when we were able to be of assistance to our learners in situations that were important for them.  For example, Julia helped Wissam order a traditional Hungarian costume for his lovely daughter, who as part of a school project introduced Hungary as her favourite country. We were delighted when Wissam shared photos of his little girl at the ’Hungarian stand’ she had set up, complete with a real Hungarian flag – handmade in Hungary! – and lángos for the hungry visitors – I wonder who made the lángos!

No. 9: Shade stayed some days in Budapest, but he was also determined to travel to the small country town where his great grandparents had lived before they emigrated to America in the late 1890s. Julia was very worried when Shade contacted her, asking about the cost of a taxi from Budapest to Parád – there was no way she would let him spend that much! – and she managed to put him in contact with a ridesharing website, and he was able to organise his trip himself, although he is only a beginner in Hungarian. At the end of his day trip, Shade did the 2-hour journey back to Budapest on the bus, opting to experience real, everyday life in Hungary. His driver only knew a few words in English in typing, and almost none in speech, yet Shade was able to meet at the department store near his room on Rakóczi út at the right time. The driver left him off in Gyöngyös, and Shade found a bus from there. The bus driver forgot to tell him when they got to Parád, but Shade saw a building with “Parád” on the side and jumped up in time. Julia was very proud of him, and she smiled when he wrote, “Not many people speak English outside Budapest, do they?”

No. 10: In 2016 lovely people who have made Hungary their home have continued and have begun learning with us. It is so refreshing to hear how positively they feel about Hungary, and how they appreciate the country, her people and Hungarian culture. Surely, such positive thoughts and energy help to make the world a better place.

No. 11: In October, our learner Bill and his wife Ágnes travelled down by train from their home in Budapest to spend the day with Julia and her husband.  They visited János’s apiary (bee yard) and had a very entertaining bilingual morning there.  It was such a pleasure for them to meet in person – icing on the cake of a friendship that has flourished during the months of Hungarian language learning on Skype.

No. 12: We started translating documents for bilingual weddings back in 2014, and since then, each year we were approached by people requesting assistance with their wedding.
In 2014 we had the privilege to assist with Jono’s and Erica’s wedding, in 2015 Chris’s and Csilla’s and Zsolti’s and Tania’s fantastic weddings took place and in 2016 it was Giannis’s and Kinga’s turn. We do realise that a wedding is one of the most important events in every couple’s life and although our share was just a small part in the success of these days, we felt we had a huge responsibility in making these weddings the special occasions they deserved to be.
For some of these weddings, we provided our translation service and translated the texts of the legal ceremonies, the blessings, the families’ speeches, best man speeches and most importantly, the vows themselves. Some other weddings, we also went in person, and provided in-person interpreting services to make sure the two families were able to talk to each other and that there were no communication barriers on these very important days.
Now we are wondering: who will get married in 2017? If it’s You, and would like our linguistic assistance for your big day, please don’t hesitate to get in touch and have a chat with Renata about how we could help you.

No. 13: To close the year in a celebratory fashion, at the end of November we went with our London learners to the Hungarian restaurant The Rosemary for a Hungarian meal. The food was of course delicious, it was a great opportunity for our learners to get to know each other, and chat about their experience of learning Hungarian. When ordering their food, as part of experiential learning, our learners were able to use their Hungarian in an authentic communicational situation. We are currently in the process of organising our next dinner together to which hopefully Julia will also come over from Hungary to join us!

Many thanks to Wissam, Bill and Shade for sending us their photos and allowing us to use them for this article.





Hungry for more Hungarian? Let’s make 2016 a good year!

As we start the new year here at Hungarian Language Solutions, we can’t help looking back at 2015 and think of the amazing people we worked with and the goals we helped achieve. We worked hard and completed several important translating projects, as well as having continued our usual translation work involving official documents and specialised texts. Because we can provide certified translations that are endorsed by the Embassy, we are able to offer this translation service to those of our clients who are studying on our language courses in preparation for the Hungarian Citizenship Interview. Feedback from our clients shows that they are impressed with the flexibility with which we work, and it is convenient to have the whole package available from one service provider.
Since Hungarian Language Solutions began in 2009, we have helped numerous individuals prepare for successful citizenship interviews, which are part of the naturalization procedure. Hungarian citizenship is very close to our hearts: both of us have dual, British-Hungarian citizenships.       Hungry for more Hungarian - architecture
During a Hungarian Citizenship Interview, the applicant is required to demonstrate a certain level of proficiency in the Hungarian language. Understandably, we are very proud of our clients when they clear this hurdle, for they have worked very hard at their language learning in order to be able to declare that they “understand and speak the Hungarian language”. For this reason, our Hungarian language courses are built on the communicative approach to language learning. Our aim is for our learners to be able to understand and respond to the questions or inquiries posed to them, and to be relaxed and confident enough to show that they are friendly, open individuals. All of them are excited about the possibility of gaining Hungarian citizenship, and of course very proud of their Hungarian origin and fond of the cultural ties. We want these things to be evident at the interview, and this is what we aim for as we work with our learners.    Hungry for more Hungarian - cakes
We have a number of learners who passed their Citizenship Interviews in 2015 and are now sitting tight waiting to be granted citizenship. 2016 started well: two of our lovely learners have just received invitations to attend their oath ceremonies and we couldn’t be more excited for them.

Hungry for more Hungarian - Christmas markets


Stepping into 2016, we are full of plans for developments, but one thing won’t change: we treat every single client as we would like to be treated ourselves. With translation projects we produce high-qualitiy translations that read like originals, always meet the agreed deadlines and it goes without saying that we adhere to strict confidentiality. When it comes to delivering Hungarian language lessons, we treat every learner as they were our only client and feel privileged to be able to join them on this very important, special journey. We carry on offering a first, free lesson to each new learner so that people can see what they get for their money before they commit themselves.
In 2016, we continue to build our bridge between cultures.


Julia’s early impressions of Hungary

I arrived in Hungary on a dazzling, boiling-hot day in August. The year was 1981, and as I stepped out of the plane’s exit door onto the movable stairway leading down onto the concrete of the aerodrome, I was confronted by the first of many of the differences I was to experience, differences that contrasted Hungary and England. The heat! It literally hit me as I stepped out of the air-conditioned plane. When I had taken off from London a couple of hours earlier it had been about 64 degrees Fahrenheit, but as we were preparing to land, the captain had spoken of a temperature of 35 degrees Celsius in Budapest!
Walking across the concrete to the terminal building (as I remember, theJulia's early impressions of Hungaryre was no airport bus to transport us those several hundred yards) I had mixed feelings when I saw the armed soldiers positioned at various points over the area. They did not look very threatening, they seemed to feel quite at home, but they were armed, they were holding machine guns, and there was a reason for that. I was reminded that this was communist Hungary, it was a country occupied by Soviet Russia. I tried to shrug off recollections of calls from family members to be wary, of supplications to think twice before making any decision to leave England and come to live in this Eastern Bloc country. But then I thought of my fiancé, who was waiting for me at Arrivals, who I would be seeing as soon as I was through passport control and for me, Julia's early impressions of Hungary_the small town she arrived in 1981that was all that mattered, the cloud of apprehension was lifted.
Thus began a process of adapting that went relatively smoothly for me because I was young and wanted to learn. I knew it was vital that I settled in as soon as possible, and not consciously, but instinctively, I knew that the first step to this was to gain the acceptance and approval of my immediate environment – who cared about the communist government?!
When learning a foreign language we soon experience that the way native speakers communicate in everyday life can be very different to how we learnt the language in a non-native environment. Although I am half English – half Hungarian I still had to learn how people in Hungary communicate. But I quickly got a hold of the “real” Hungarian language.   I worked really hard to learn, and I said to myself that when I could read, understand, enjoy and appreciate a work of fine literature (that is how I translated the term “szépirodalom”) then I would be able to say that I was beginning to know Hungarian. The first book I read in such a way was Az arany ember by Jókai Mór. What individual, characteristic ideas the author had! I realised that because the Hungarians were still reading the works of great writers like Jókai and Petőfi, because they had preserved the old customs and folklore of their nation, because of these things the Hungarian people were able to take Communism in their stride. In some ways, I feel that Hungary has lost more since the change in political system that came about after 1989 than it lost during the years under the Communist Regime.
There are many contrasts I could mention while describing the way of life I experienced when I came to Hungary in 1981. I had grown up in London and now I was living in a “község” that to me was like a village.  True, it had a shoe factory that provided work for thousands of people (4494 in 1988), but everyone kept pigs and chickens in their backyard, and they grew grapes and vegetables in their gardens – not just flowers – and there were even fruit trees by the roadside. At that time the side roads were non-asphalted, and after a lot of rain you were lucky if you could drive the car up to the house without getting stuck in the mud…it was dangerous on a bicycle, too! Speaking of cars, there was not a western car in sight, but I soon learned to identify the Moszkvics, Warburg, Volga and Trabant – all collector’s items these days!
Reminiscing over those early days, I could talk of food, humour, “pop” music; of television (no broadcast on a Monday), working hours (only every other Saturday was free), the 1st of May (parades in the streets), pálinka (you distilled it at home), policemen (they carried guns), queuing at the bus stop (nobody did or does it), weddings (so traditional), pig-killings (a ritual, really) – and I could go on…
Today Hungary has moved closer to the West. These days there are many more similarities between the British and Hungarian way of life than there were 30 years ago. What has not changed is that Hungary is still a beautiful country, it has customs and traditions that can still be kept alive, and more and more people from other nations are showing an interest in, and an appreciation of Hungary. Hungary is a wonderful place to visit – and, really and truly, not a bad place to live!





Get in the mood for Easter – Learn a Hungarian Easter poem!

You might not know it looking out the window but spring has officially started!
On Monday we celebrate Easter, and on this day in Hungary men visit all of their women relatives, friends and colleagues. Friends in groups, fathers with their sons and single men leave early in the morning and their ‘tour’ sometimes lasts all day long. They greet girls and women with little poems and sprinkle them with cologne or water. The girls in turn treat them with hand-painted eggs and home-made cakes.
As a preparation for this, one of our learners has asked for a little Hungarian Easter poem to learn.
So Boys, if you would like to greet your Hungarian girlfriends with an Easter poem on Monday, you could learn the following:

Zöld erdőben jártam,
Kék ibolyát láttam.
El akart hervadni,
Szabad-e locsolni?




Have a listen to this little recording and perfect your pronunciation as well!