If there’s one group of indigenous Mexican languages you’ve heard of, it’s surely the Mayan languages. You may not have known that they’re not one single language but rather an entire family of around 30 languages, and you may not have known that they’re still spoken collectively by 6 million people today—but at least the Mayan languages are among the most well-known indigenous languages of the Americas. Most Mayan languages are spoken in Guatemala, the Yucatán Peninsula, and elsewhere in the extreme south of Mexico, but there’s one notable exception, far removed from the rest of the family, and that’s Huastec.
Huastec, also known as Wastek, Wasteko, Huasteco, or its native name, Teenek, is kept alive today by around 170,000 native speakers, who are divided into three main dialectical groups across the Huastec-speaking region. Huastec is noteworthy as the most divergent Mayan language, located hundreds of miles from the rest of the family, and one of Mexico’s numerous indigenous radio stations broadcasts Huastec-language programming. But still, that’s not enough to prompt most translation agencies to offer Huastec translation services, as the language remains endangered, under threat from Spanish.
Here at TranslationServices.com, we’re proud to work with indigenous languages, no matter how endangered. Our new Huastec translation team is experienced, passionate, and ready to help you—just send us a message to request a free quote!
What makes Huastec so unique?
While most Mayan languages are situated in Guatemala or the southernmost states of Mexico, Huastec is spoken considerably further north, primarily in northern Veracruz and southern San Luis Potosí but even stretching up into Tamaulipas. Even Huastec’s closest relative, Chicomuceltec, which is now extinct, was spoken far away, in Guatemala and Mexico’s Chiapas state. The biggest dialect of Huastec is Western (Potosino), spoken in San Luis Potosí, while speakers of the other two, Central (Veracruz) and Eastern (Otontepec), generally live in Veracruz.
In terms of grammar, Huastec shares certain characteristics with its fellow Mayan languages, but it’s highly divergent in many ways. For example, whereas most Mayan languages adopt a verb-initial default word order—either verb-subject-object or verb-object-subject—Huastec prefers the English word order of subject-verb-object. While the language lacks a word for “to be” in the present tense, it features past and future versions, and Huastec verbs are subject to considerable inflection to convey different grammatical meanings. Perhaps most complex, though, is Huastec’s ergative alignment, which means that the object of a transitive sentence, not the subject, is treated the same way as the subject of an intransitive sentence.
Let us work on your Huastec translation project—no matter what it is!
A clear outlier in the Mayan language family, Huastec is a unique indigenous language under threat from the influence and prestige of Spanish. We at TranslationServices.com are one of the few translation firms that works with Huastec, proudly offering translation services both to and from the language for all sorts of clients. Thanks to our diverse team of native-speaking Huastec translators, who grew up in different parts of San Luis Potosí and Veracruz, it’s now easy to access Huastec translation services.
We’re committed to providing quality in our Huastec translation services, regardless of the type or subject matter of your project. For business documents or marketing materials, lean on our Huastec business translation experts, whose years of experience allow them to craft carefully curated business translations. For research surveys and educational materials, turn to our Huastec academic translation team, equipped with subject-matter experts in a wide array of fields to ensure that no technical terminology goes untranslated. For literature and digital media, count on our Huastec literary translators and localization professionals, who can not only translate traditional Huastec stories into English but also contemporary media—from books and poetry to apps and games—from English to Huastec.
Quality matters to us, which is why we’ve hired the best Huastec translators we could find. To put them to work on your project, simply contact us today!