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If you’re not overly familiar with Guatemala, you probably think that it can be classified as a monolingual Spanish-speaking country, with the entire population speaking Spanish as a native language. But in fact, you would be wrong. Surprisingly, only a little over half of the Guatemalan population are native Spanish speakers—the rest have learned an indigenous language as their first language. Guatemala is teeming with indigenous, mostly Mayan, languages, some more widely spoken than others. Today, we’re focusing on one of those languages: Tz’utujil.


Tz’utujil is one of Guatemala’s 21 indigenous Mayan languages and enjoys relatively strong vitality for an indigenous language in the Americas, despite its relatively low number of speakers. In the past, the Guatemalan government persecuted the Tz’utujil people and the other indigenous groups that resided within the country’s borders, but now, the government-established Guatemalan Academy of Mayan Languages endeavors to help revitalize Tz’utujil and its cousin languages. Most translation agencies don’t bother offering translation services for Tz’utujil, since it’s an endangered language, but at TranslationServices.com, we’re proud of our Tz’utujil translation team.


Find out what our rates for Tz’utujil translation are by contacting us today and requesting a free quote.


A relic of pre-Columbian Mesoamerica: Tz’utujil

It’s not easy to ascertain an exact figure for the number of speakers of endangered languages, but it’s estimated that between 60,000 and 100,000 people speak the Mayan language of Tz’utujil, most of whom reside to the south of Lake Atitlán in Guatemala’s Sololá department. Most ethnic Tz’utujil speak their indigenous language natively, learning Spanish as a second language—and in fact, many Tz’utujil children speak only Tz’utujil until they learn Spanish in school. Tz’utujil is closely related to K’iche’, the biggest Mayan language in Guatemala.


Tz’utujil exhibits a rare word order—verb-object-subject—that is only found in around 3% of languages globally, although it’s common in Mayan languages. The language is ergative, which means that transitive objects and intransitive subjects are treated the same grammatically, taking an absolutive marker, while transitive subjects are marked separately with an ergative marker. These are marked obligatorily on the verb, which means pronouns can often be omitted. Tz’utujil, like all other Mayan languages, also favors aspect, or whether an action is complete, to tense. Tz’utujil marks plural nouns with a prepositional particle and any accompanying adjectives with a corresponding plural suffix.


Let our Tz’utujil translators handle your Tz’utujil translation—after all, it’s a complex language that’s difficult for foreigners to grasp.


Translating Tz’utujil for anyone who needs Tz’utujil translation

It doesn’t matter whether you’re looking for translation into Tz’utujil or out of Tz’utujil, because our translators are capable of providing both services. Either direction offers valuable opportunities to fortify Tz’utujil’s vitality, whether it’s by sharing Tz’utujil culture or knowledge with others around the world or by creating more content in Tz’utujil, which allows speakers to use the language more and helps learners internalize the complex structure of the language. Just to list a few examples, we can translate historical documents, literature, and more out of Tz’utujil, and we can translate academic papers, posters, books, websites, games, and more into Tz’utujil.


We want to help you with your Tz’utujil translation project, so contact us whenever you’re ready and tell us the specifications of your project.


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