Today, the vast majority of people in Colombia and Venezuela speak Spanish. In fact, the majority of people all over Latin America speak Spanish, with the most notable exception being Portuguese-speaking Brazil. But Spanish (and Portuguese) are new imports to the land, having only been brought to the shores of Latin America a few centuries ago. For thousands of years before that, countless indigenous languages from dozens of families thrived across the territory. Many of these languages are still around today, spoken proudly in indigenous communities. One of them is Piaroa.
Piaroa has around 14,000 native speakers, which you may not think is very many, especially compared to the tens of millions of Spanish speakers in Colombia and Venezuela. But given that the Piaroa ethnicity only numbers about 15,000 people, it’s clear that the majority of ethnic Piaroa people speak their ancestral language. This means that Piaroa has a relatively secure future when compared to many other indigenous languages of South America—but Spanish still poses a threat to the language. At TranslationServices.com, we’re proud to provide Piaroa translation services that help support the language.
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Piaroa: the language of the “Guardians of the Forest”
Most Piaroa speakers live along the Sipapo, Orinoco, and Ventuari Rivers in Venezuela and Colombia, with the majority of speakers residing on the Venezuelan side of the waterways. The language goes by many names, with some alternatives being Guagua, Kuakua, Quaqua, Adole, Ature, and Wo’tiheh. Natively, Piaroa speakers call themselves Huǫttųją or Wötʰïhä (“knowledgeable people of the forest”) or De’atʰïhä (“guardians of the forest”). The language is unique, hailing from a small family called Piaroa–Saliban, with Saliba and Wirö as the only other extant members.
As is common in many Amerindian languages, Piaroa draws a grammatical distinction between animate and inanimate nouns. The difference between animate and inanimate nouns in Piaroa manifests in various ways, including through a verbal prefix on the verb and different plural suffixes. Animate nouns are also further divided by gender, with gender suffixes attached to certain words. Inanimate nouns are also broken down into classes based on their shape, function, consistency, and more. All these grammatical distinctions can be a lot to juggle, but if you work with native-speaking Piaroa translators—like our team—you don’t have to worry.
Piaroa translation services anyone can count on
Our search for the best translators the Piaroa-speaking world has to offer has taken us up and down the Sipapo, Orinoco, and Ventuari Rivers, and we’ve recruited native-speaking Piaroa translators from both Venezuela and Colombia. No matter what variety of Piaroa you’re working with, we’re committed to matching you with the right translator for your project. Since we work with translation projects both from English to Piaroa and from Piaroa to English, we ensure smooth communication between the Piaroa people and the wider world, in both directions.
Maybe you’re looking for Piaroa translation services that require a bit more specialization than general translation. Just let us know—our team is filled with specialists who boast experience in different areas of translation. For instance, we can translate academic documents, whether that means research questionnaires, academic papers, or lesson content for Piaroa-speaking children. We also have translators who specialize in business matters, helping you translate your business proposals or marketing materials to or from Piaroa. For our more creative clients, we offer literary translation services, helping Piaroa speakers publicize their stories around the world or bringing interesting new content (from books and poetry to apps and games!) to the Piaroa-speaking world, helping support the language.
What kind of Piaroa translation project are you pursuing? Let us know in a message and get started with your Piaroa translation project today!