As project managers, we are used to receiving requests for translations to and from many languages. The most popular include English, Spanish, Chinese, Portuguese, French and German. However, on rare occasions, clients surprise us and request translations into languages that we don’t usually work with, or, in some cases which we have never even heard of! Thus, we are faced with the challenge of finding the most qualified linguists to complete the requested translation.
Let’s take a look at a few of the more exotic languages with which we have worked or would like to work in the future:
Papiamento: a creole language spoken by more than 300,000 people in the Netherlands Antilles. It is the second most widely spoken language in these islands after Dutch. It has been influenced by Portuguese, Spanish, Dutch, English and French. An example of a phrase in Papiamento: Kon ta ku bida? (How are you?)
Luba-Katanga: also called Kiluba, is one of two Bantu languages spoken in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (the other is Luba-Kasai, which despite having a similar name is completely different from Luba-Katanga). It is spoken by over a million and a half Luba; the people that inhabit southeastern Congo.
Sorbian: not to be confused with Serbian, is also known as Lusatian Sorbian. Sorbian is a Saxon language spoken in eastern Germany. It is similar to Czech, Slovak and Polish, and is spoken by over 50,000 people. An example of a phrase in Sorbian: Jan Čita knihu (Jan is reading a book).
K’iche’: in English this language is also known as Quiché. Although the name is reminiscent of a savory tart, K’iche’ is a Mayan language spoken by the Quiché people in Guatemala and southern Mexico. It has more than a million speakers, and in Guatemala it is the second most widely spoken language after Spanish. In fact, the vast majority of speakers of K’iche’ are bilingual and speak both languages. A phrase in K’iche’: kulwa’oq (she comes and eats).
Cebuano: this language may seem unfamiliar to us, but surely not to the 26 million Filipinos who speak it. The name comes from the island of Cebu in the Philippines, where many of its speakers reside. Just like Tagalog, it has been greatly influenced by Spanish. A phrase in Cebuano: Pilay imong age? (How old are you?)
If you know of any other exotic languages, we invite you to share them with us in the comments section. And if you need a translation of any language, no matter how unusual its name, don’t hesitate to contact us and request a free quote.