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Matinee Blog

Widely Spoken Romance Languages

The term ‘Romance language’ refers to a group of languages derived from Vulgar Latin. Typically, Classical Latin refers to the Latin of literature and politics spoken by learned men, while Vulgar Latin was spoken by the everyday man: the merchants, slaves, gladiators. The Romance languages have many similarities in grammar and vocabulary, making audio and video translations a simpler process if you already know a Romance language.

Here are the five most wildly spoken Romance languages.


Spanish is spoken natively by some 410 million people around the world. It originated in Castile, a region of Spain. It is one of the six official languages of the United Nations. Because of the growing populations and economies of Spanish-speaking countries, the study of Spanish as a foreign language is increasing, as is the need for Spanish translation services and Spanish voice-over. It is the official language of 20 countries.


Portuguese is spoken natively by over 200 million people around the world. The official language of Brazil is Portuguese, and almost all of the population (200 million people) speak it, as well as 10 million native speakers in Portugal. Some Portuguese words that are now part of the English language are ‘cobra’, ‘flamingo’ and ‘piranha’. Maybe these will be relevant to use in your next Portuguese voice-over project!


French is spoken natively by 110 million people around the world. Modern French was established in the 17th century, with writers such as Descartes and Molière using it. One of the longest words in French is ‘anticonstitutionnellement’, meaning ‘in a very unconstitutional way’.


Italian is spoken natively by 64 million people around the world, primarily in Italy. Italian food and their names are very popular globally. Many of us have had pizza, spaghetti and broccoli. Italian terms are also very common in music, indicating tempo and stylistic feel. ‘Presto’ means ‘very quick’, while ‘rallentando’ means ‘gradually slowing down’.


Romanian is spoken natively by 24 million people around the world, primarily in Romania and Moldova. There are also speakers in Australia, North America and many European countries. The language has been popularised by music and films, such as O-Zone’s ‘Dragonstea din tei/Numa Numa’ in 2003, when it reached number one on the Eurochart Hot 100.