Everyone’s heard of Kenya—it’s one of the most famous countries in Africa. But do you know what language is spoken in Kenya? Actually, there are many languages spoken in Kenya—more than 70, to be precise. When you have this many languages spoken across a single country, you need a lingua franca to ensure smooth communications among the disparate ethnic groups, and Kenya has two: Swahili and English. But for most Kenyans, these are second languages. Most of the population speaks one of the country’s many indigenous languages, such as Kipsigis, as their native tongue.
Kipsigis is one of the more prominent languages in Kenya, boasting a speaker community of almost 2 million. Considering that Kenya’s population of 55 million is split up among more than 70 languages, this is a sizable number of speakers. Kipsigis thus commands a relative amount of prestige in its region, constituting the largest language in the Kalenjin dialect cluster. We wish this meant translation companies were flocking to serve this important Kenyan language, but unfortunately, most translation agencies just focus on Swahili. So, we took matters into our own hands to create our very own Kipsigis translation team.
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A brief exploration of the Kipsigis language
Kenyan languages primarily represent three different language families: Niger–Congo (Bantu branch), Nilo–Saharan, and Afroasiatic. Kipsigis comes from the Nilo–Saharan family, specifically from the Kalenjin dialect cluster, also called Nandi. Kalenjin speakers account for 18% of the Kenyan population, and 60% of Kalenjin language speakers belong to the Kipsigis tribe—so Kipsigis is an important and influential language in the southwest of Kenya. The language is closely related to its Kalenjin cousins and other languages spoken nearby but retains its distinct nature.
The grammatical structure of Kipsigis is quite unique, with the language demonstrating a verb-subject-object word default word order, a feature of only 9% of the world’s languages. However, the subject or object may appear at the beginning of a sentence if topicalized, marked by a topicalization particle. Another unusual feature of Kipsigis is that the only case it marks is the nominative (the subject)—in many languages, the nominative is the only case left unmarked. However, the nominative marking is realized through tone only. When a subject is topicalized, however, it loses its nominative marking.
We navigate the hurdles of Kipsigis translation to deliver unwavering quality.
As you can surmise from the above description, Kipsigis is a unique language with no shortage of features not found in most other languages. This presents numerous challenges to translators converting the language to or from English, but don’t worry—our Kipsigis translators are trained professionals with years of experience, so they know exactly how to maneuver through all the difficulties of Kipsigis translation, whether that’s translation to Kipsigis or translation from Kipsigis. Hailing from all over southwestern Kenya, our Kipsigis translators love their language and are passionate about facilitating communication between their people and the wider world.
There’s almost no limit to the type of documents we can translate to and from Kipsigis. With specialists in corporate translation, scholarly translation, literary translation, localization, and more, we promise to translate your documents with the utmost care and precision, no matter the domain or subject matter. We’ve even sought out Kipsigis translators who double as experts in various fields to ensure that we can seamlessly translate technical content filled with esoteric language. In this way, we can help CEOs, business leaders, marketers, academics, researchers, novelists, poets, bloggers, web designers, software developers, and all sorts of other people access the Kipsigis translation services they need to overcome the language barrier.
We’re ready to get started on your Kipsigis translation project—no matter what it is! Contact us today to tell us about your needs.