The Bajau (alternatively spelled Bajaw) are one of the most fascinating people groups on the planet. Widely known as the “sea gypsies” of Maritime Southeast Asia, the Bajau make their home in the islands of Indonesia, Malaysia, and the Philippines—more specifically in the Sulu Archipelago (Philippines), Sabah (Malaysia), and Sulawesi and the Maluku Islands (Indonesia). They’re seen as a peaceful, hospitable, cheerful people, but their most notable characteristic is their sea-faring lifestyle, traditionally living in houseboats. Over 1,000 years of subsistence freediving has endowed the Bajau with certain genetic traits that allow them to hold their breath longer than other people groups.
The Bajau people speak the Bajau language, part of the wider Sama–Bajau family belonging to the Barito branch of the Austronesian language family, which dominates Maritime Southeast Asia. Today, the Bajau language has an estimated roughly 260,000 speakers, about half that of Sama, its close cousin. The Sama people share the same sea-faring lifestyle as the Bajau, with the Bajau concentrated more in Borneo (Malaysia and Indonesia) and the Sama more in the Sulu Archipelago of the Philippines. Unfortunately, both languages are overlooked on the global stage, resulting in a scarcity of Bajau translation services. That’s where we at TranslationServices.com come in, with our brand-new Bajau translation team.
Anyone interested in Bajau translation services should send us a message requesting a free quote.
Bajau, the language of the Southeast Asian “sea gypsies”
Bajau, spoken across three distinct countries, is accordingly divided into three primary varieties: West Coast Bajau, spoken by around 55,000 people in Malaysia; Indonesian Bajau, spoken by around 150,000 people in Indonesia; and Mapun, spoken by about 43,000 people in the Philippines with an additional 15,000 in Malaysia. Every variety is written in the Latin alphabet, as are most languages in Malaysia, Indonesia, and the Philippines.
Grammatically, Bajau shares many similarities with the other Austronesian languages that surround it in Malaysia, Indonesia, and the Philippines. Word order can be complicated, with verb-subject-object, object-verb-subject, and subject-verb-object all common depending on the context. Bajau makes use of the complicated Philippine voice system, with actor-focused and patient-focused sentences changing the nuance and altering the word order. The language features a passive voice in addition to the actor- and patient-focused voices. In terms of pronouns, Bajau pronouns come in three distinct forms: an independent form, an enclitic form, and an oblique pronoun form. Different grammatical contexts call for different pronouns, which can make Bajau tricky for learners.
Need Bajau translation services? You’ve come to the right place.
We want to offer the best Bajau translation services we can, so we scouted out the best Bajau translation talent in Malaysia, Indonesia, and the Philippines. We found skilled, experienced Bajau translators with a burning passion for their native language, and they’re excited to help clients from around the world fulfill their Bajau translation needs. We can translate all sorts of documents—check out a few examples below!
Educational content. What better way to encourage endangered language growth than to immerse children in a good education in their native language? Our translators are passionate about translating pedagogical materials into Bajau because they understand the long-ranging impacts this can have on the speaker community.
Literary content. A people as unique as the Bajau have lots of culturally rich stories they can share with the wider world. Unfortunately, not many people in the international community know about the Bajau, but our translators can help you change that by translating Bajau stories and literature into English for global consumption.
Digital content. As modern-day Bajaus find themselves increasingly surfing the web instead of the clear waters of Southeast Asia, we want to step in and help translate digital content such as websites, apps, and games into Bajau. Currently, digital media in Bajau is scarce, but with the help of our Bajau translation team, you can help modernize this unique language.
Let’s get started with Bajau translation services! All you need to do is send a message to our translation team.