It’s widely known that Chinese is spoken in Taiwan—but what exactly does “Chinese” mean? After all, Chinese isn’t a single language but rather a language family made up of several distinct and mutually unintelligible languages. Mandarin, which is the biggest, is the primary language in Taiwan, used in administrative domains. But in fact, Taiwanese Hokkien is the native language of 70% of the island, and an additional 2.5 million or so people speak Taiwanese Hakka.
Hakka is a subfamily of the Sinitic languages, and Taiwanese Hakka refers specifically to the variant spoken in Taiwan, which differs from that used on the mainland. Since Mandarin is heavily used in Taiwan and Taiwanese Hokkien, which is often just called Taiwanese, overshadows Taiwanese Hakka, the language is considered endangered. So, this situation, coupled with the fact that many foreigners don’t even know that Taiwanese Hakka exists, has resulted in a massive dearth of translation agencies with Taiwanese Hakka translation services. TranslationServices.com, however, stands out from the crowd for its dedication to endangered languages like Taiwanese Hakka.
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Diving into the information on Taiwanese Hakka
Taiwanese Hakka has been spoken in Taiwan for centuries. The broader language of Hakka is also spoken in southeastern China in one of the most geographically accessible areas to Taiwan, so it makes sense that Hakka speakers would have historically migrated to Taiwan in large numbers. Taiwanese Hakka, which is mostly spoken in northeastern part of Taiwan, must compete with the much larger and more widespread Mandarin and Taiwanese Hokkien, relegating it to an endangered language. The Hakka Affairs Council, a government organization, is actively engaged in work to revitalize and preserve Taiwanese Hakka.
Taiwanese Hakka differs from Mandarin in a number of ways. The pronunciation is vastly different, certainly, but so too is the grammar and vocabulary. Hakka still uses various words derived from Old Chinese that Mandarin has long abandoned—and Hakka may use entirely different characters to represent these words—which means Mandarin speakers may have difficulty reading Taiwanese Hakka. Notably, Hakka words tend to be monosyllabic, whereas Mandarin has largely adopted disyllabic words. Also notable about Taiwanese Hakka is that it employs Traditional Chinese characters, which are used all over Taiwan, as opposed to the Simplified Chinese characters used on the mainland. This makes it even more difficult for those from the mainland to understand written Taiwanese Hakka.
Translating Taiwanese Hakka in both directions
As a translation company, it’s important that we accommodate clients with a variety of needs—including whether they need translation into a language of out of it. With native Taiwanese Hakka speakers comprising our top-notch team, we can help you share the culture of the Taiwanese Hakka people by translating historical documents, literature, academic notes, and more from Taiwanese Hakka to English. Our team is also eager to help people create more content in Taiwanese Hakka by translating business materials, academic reports, and entertainment content—for example, books, games, websites, apps, and more—into Taiwanese Hakka.
Would you like to get started on your journey toward Taiwanese Hakka translation? The first step is messaging us and telling us what you’re looking for.