Do you know what language they speak in Iran? Some people may answer Arabic, but Iran’s sole official language is Farsi (Persian), which may look like Arabic to the untrained eye. However, that’s somewhat of a trick question, given that Iran is a bastion of linguistic diversity. The Middle Eastern country is dotted with different indigenous languages, many hailing from the same Indo–Iranian language family as Persian. But, of course, with Persian reigning supreme as the national lingua franca, minority languages in Iran sometimes struggle to flourish.
The Caspian languages are a branch of the Indo–Iranian language family (itself a branch of the Indo–European family, to which English also belongs) found along the Iranian coast of the Caspian Sea. One Caspian language, Talysh, is also spoken in neighboring southeastern Azerbaijan. Calculated together, Caspian languages count roughly 5.3 million speakers, with Gilaki and Mazandarani accounting for the majority of them. While these two Caspian languages enjoy relatively vigorous use in their respective provinces, they’re still threated by the ubiquity and prestige of Persian, which non-native-speaking Iranians are required to learn. The obscurity of the Caspian languages at the international level has resulted in a dearth of translation services for these proud languages, so we at TranslationServices.com have stepped in with our very own translation team for the Caspian languages.
If you’d like to see our rates for Caspian translation services, all you have to do is message us and ask!
A quick tour of the Caspian languages
The Caspian languages are part of the Iranian language family and thus share many characteristics with Persian. Additionally, as is natural for any minority language, the Caspian tongues have sustained considerable influence from the dominant Persian language, and Talysh is even partially mutually intelligible with Persian. However, what makes the group unique is that it also shares some typological features of the Kartvelian languages spoken in Georgia. The family is relatively small, with just five languages:
Gilaki and Mazandarani both claim more than 2.3 million speakers each and are widely spoken in the Iranian provinces of Gilan and Mazandaran, respectively. Talysh, spoken along the western Caspian coast in Iran and southeastern Azerbaijan, has about 1 million speakers. Tati, spoken more inland, has around 220,000 native speakers, while Semnani, the smallest language of the family, boasts around 60,000 speakers. The Caspian languages are generally written in the Arabic script, like Persian, but Talysh is additionally written in the Latin alphabet in Azerbaijan and the Cyrillic alphabet in Russia.
Grammar can differ between the different Caspian languages. For example, while Mazandarani and Talysh usually use a subject-object-verb word order, Gilaki prefers subject-verb-object, like English. The Caspian languages add markers to verbs to indicate the grammatical person, rendering pronouns often unnecessary. There tend to be three cases—nominative, genitive, and accusative—with the nominative usually unmarked.
Translation services to or from Caspian languages—which direction do you want?
With talented translators from all across Iran and Azerbaijan, we’re proud to present our Caspian languages translation team. We cover all five Caspian languages, offering tailored translation services for a wide range of documents. Our Caspian translators provide translation services for the following and more:
Corporate documents: Smooth communication is key to successful business operations. Our Caspian business translation team works with both Iranian businesses that want to break into international markets and foreign organizations looking to target the Caspian coast in Iran, translating both internal company documents and promotional materials.
Historical texts: A land as culturally rich as Iran is full of historical treasures. If you’re looking to translate old documents in Caspian languages into English, let us be your guide. Whether for Gilaki, Mazandarani, Talysh, Tati, or Semnani, no matter the script, we can translate your historical documents seamlessly.
Creative writing: Whether you’re looking to share the stories, old or new, of Caspian languages with the rest of the world or you’d like to bring great new reads to the people along the Caspian coast, our team is here to help with your literary translation needs. We can even translate digital media like websites, apps, and games into Caspian languages, helping them thrive in the 21st century!
Are you ready to get started with translation for a Caspian language? If you are, reach out to us now!