Most people aren’t aware of the sheer level of linguistic diversity that stretches all across the vast and beautiful continent of South America. With Spanish the dominant language in most countries on the continent, it’s easy to overlook the plethora of indigenous minority languages still spoken by millions—indeed, even today, hundreds of indigenous languages are still used vigorously in South America. The languages native to the continent come from several distinct language families, resulting in high levels of diversity within the different autochthonous tongues in South America, and one of the most prominent families is Cariban.
Cariban is a well-attested family of around three dozen indigenous languages in South America, though most Cariban languages are, unfortunately, endangered, spoken only by a few hundred or thousand people. The biggest Cariban language is Macushi, with an estimated 18,000 to 30,000 native speakers. Next in line is Kapóng, with about 10,000 native speakers, followed by Carib, or Kari’nja, after which the family is named, in third place with 8,600 native speakers. But even these bigger languages face encroachment from Spanish, Portuguese, English, and other lingua francas spoken in their respective countries, and that means most translation companies don’t cater to them.
Here at TranslationServices.com, we’re proud to provide translation services for as many Carib languages as possible. Want to see a free quote? Just message us to ask!
What makes the Carib languages unique?
If you’ve noticed the similarities between the word Carib and Caribbean, it’s not a coincidence. The Caribbean was named after the Carib people, who migrated to the region from South America, where the family originated. Today, the only remnant of the Caribbean Carib languages is Garifuna, a unique Carib–Arawakan hybrid language spoken on the Caribbean coast of Central America, with the remaining Carib languages spoken across northern South America, particularly Brazil, Guyana, Suriname, French Guiana, Venezuela, and Colombia.
Among the dozens of Carib languages, the biggest are Macushi (Brazil, Guyana), Kapóng (Guyana, Venezuela), Carib (Venezuala, Guyana, Suriname, French Guiana, Brazil), Pemon (Venezuela, Brazil, Guyana), Ye’kuana (Venezuela), and Yukpa (Colombia, Venezuela). Grammar can differ considerably among the languages—for example, the default word order in Kapóng is subject-object-verb, while Hixkaryana is famous among linguists for its extremely rare object-verb-subject word order, previously believed not to exist in natural languages. Panare is unique for its use of ergative alignment in the present but nominative alignment in the past—in most languages with split ergativity, the situation is reversed.
Flexible Carib translation services to fit your specific needs
Clearly, the Carib family is large, complex, and diverse, filled with many different languages from across the northernmost portions of South America. With many of these languages small and endangered, it’s not possible for us to provide translation services for all of them, but we’ve done our best to build robust translation teams for as many Carib languages as possible. In particular, we’ve focused on major Carib languages, such as Macushi, Kapóng, Carib, Pemon, Ye’kuana, and Yukpa. The members of our Carib translation teams are skilled at translating both to and from their languages, so we can handle translation in both directions.
Translating to and from Carib languages can be tricky, but since we only hire native speakers, our team is skilled at navigating these challenges. To the best of our ability, we’ve searched for Carib translators who have experience in different types of translation, ranging from business translation and academic translation to literary translation and localization. Some of our translators are also experts in different fields, enabling them to translate content with technical jargon. No matter what Carib language you’re working with or what kind of document you’re looking to translate, the passion of our Carib translators for their native languages is evident in the high-quality work they provide every time.
What Carib language are you looking to translate to or from? Send us a message specifying the language and the details of your project so we can get started right away!