Most African languages aren’t known outside of Africa. Sure, everyone’s heard of Swahili and Somali, and those more in tune with Africa or linguistics may know of Yoruba, Hausa, Zulu, Xhosa, Amharic, Wolof, and a handful of others. Maasai is among the rare African languages known on the global stage, due to the Maasai’s global fame for their unique culture, lifestyle, dress, and jumping dance. But despite Maasai’s fame, professional translation services for the proud African language are hard to come by.
Maasai is spoken by roughly 1.5 million people, an estimated 75% of the 2+ million Maasai ethnic population. Historically, other ethnic groups in the area abandoned their own languages in favor of Maasai, but today, Maasai is a minority language. Living in tightly knit communities in Kenya and Tanzania, the Maasai have held onto their language remarkably well, even as neighboring ethnic groups switch to the dominant English or Swahili. Of course, though, these bigger languages pose an ever-existent threat to Maasai and similar languages, and already, a portion of ethnic Maasai people don’t speak their ancestral language. Here at TranslationServices.com, we believe it would be a tragedy to let the unique Maasai language erode—so we wanted to do what we can to help it flourish. That’s why we’ve set up our own Maasai translation team, ready to work for you now.
A free quote for our Maasai translation services? You can get one if you just ask!
Diving deep into the Maasai language
Unlike most other languages in Kenya and Tanzania, Maasai belongs not to the expansive Bantu language family but rather to the smaller Nilo–Saharan family, which makes it related to Dinka, Nuer, and Dholuo. More specifically, Maasai is a Southern Maa language, closely related to its Northern Maa cousins, Samburu and Camus (or Chamus). Maasai, a tonal language, is written in the Latin alphabet, which is normal for indigenous languages in Africa.
The default word order in Maasai is verb-subject-object, the third-most common word order among the world’s languages but nonetheless only accounting for 9% of languages. However, verb-object-subject is also common, depending on the context. Interestingly, many morphemes denoting grammatical information, such as case, tense, aspect, or mood, are simply tone changes, which makes tonal marking an integral part of Maasai orthography. Maasai is a gender-heavy language, with all nouns requiring a demonstrative or gender-number prefix. Unlike most gendered languages, Maasai gender is less about the phonological makeup of the noun and more about the perceived gender of the meaning—for example, words relating to the home are generally given a feminine marker, and words relating to work outside the home are usually given a masculine marker.
Your one-stop shop for Maasai translation services
Maasai translation services aren’t common, but we’ve managed to find the most skilled Maasai translators across Kenya and Tanzania and bring them to you in our dedicated Maasai translation team. Our translators leverage their deep experience and passion for their language to smoothly translate between Maasai and English for any number of needs—whether they’re corporate, literary, educational, or personal in nature. Here are some examples:
Maasai business translation. Want to establish your business or organization in Maasai territory? The best way to do that is to translate your corporate and promotional documents into Maasai. Not only will this ensure that locals can understand you, but the Maasai people will also appreciate your investment in their language and community. Of course, we’re also here to help Maasai-speaking businesses grow their presence abroad!
Maasai educational translation. One of the best ways to preserve a language is to educate children in the language, simultaneously providing linguistic immersion and a robust education. To improve the education of Maasai-speaking children, our Maasai translators are eager to help you translate English-language pedagogical materials into Maasai.
Maasai literary translation. Looking to share the unique stories, myths, and folklore of the Maasai people with a wider audience? Let us translate Maasai literature into English so the rest of the world can better appreciate Maasai culture. Maybe you’re more interested in bringing foreign media—traditional media like books or poems or digital media like websites, apps, and games—to the Maasai. Our translators can help in that case, too!
Our Maasai translation services are available to anyone who needs them. Reach out today to discuss your needs!