Kiribati is a wholly unique country. Located smack-dab in the middle of the Pacific Ocean, this Pacific Island nation is the only country in the world located in all four cardinal hemispheres in the world, with the international date line jutting out eastward to accommodate Kiribati’s easternmost islands. Made up of low-lying atolls, Kiribati has a population of just around 120,000, most of whom speak Gilbertese, the native language of the island nation.
There are around 120,000 speakers of Gilbertese, most of whom live in Kiribati. Since most people in the country identify as I-Kiribati and speak the language, it enjoys vigorous use within the borders of Kiribati, although around 80% of the population can also read English. The language is also receiving more attention in areas where I-Kiribati have migrated, such as New Zealand, which set up a Gilbertese language unit in an Auckland school in 2020. But even though Gilbertese is the national language of Kiribati, there aren’t a lot of translation services available for the language. At TranslationServices.com, we’d like to differentiate ourselves by creating our own professional translation team for Gilbertese.
You can see a free quote for our Gilbertese translation services if you request one today.
Let’s dive into the Gilbertese language!
Gilbertese derives its name from the Gilbert Islands chain of western Kiribati, where the majority of the population lives. Most Gilbertese speakers—around 110,000 people—live in Kiribati, with the rest scattered throughout other Pacific Island nations, such as Fiji or the Solomon Islands. Gilbertese comes from the Austronesian language family, as do most languages of the Pacific, and it’s written in the Latin alphabet with no special characters, just like English.
Gilbertese’s basic word order is verb-object-subject, found in only 3% of the world’s languages. Nouns are marked for plurality, although sometimes this only means lengthening the first vowel. Derivation is easy in Gilbertese, as adding an article to a verb or adjective turns it into a noun. Gilbertese has no word for “brother” or “sister” per se—rather, they have tariu (“sibling of the same gender”) and maneu (sibling of the opposite gender), so whether these words mean “brother” or “sister” depends on the speaker’s gender. Verbal tense, aspect, and mood are generally expressed through particles, although reduplication or partial reduplication of the verb can also indicate the habitual aspect or the continuative aspect.
What kind of Gilbertese translation services are you seeking?
As the national language of Kiribati, Gilbertese is used in a wide range of contexts. This inevitably means that Gilbertese translation clients will have diverse needs, with some looking to translate into the language and others seeking to translate out of it. To accommodate everyone to the best of our ability, we’ve carefully built a diverse and experienced Gilbertese translation team that can handle both types of translation. So, if you want to translate from Gilbertese to English, we’re ready to translate everything from business content, to historical documents, to traditional and contemporary literature. If you’d rather translate from English to Gilbertese, let us help you convert your business materials, questionnaires and surveys, and books, games, websites, apps, and more into natural-sounding Gilbertese.
We’re eager to help you with your Gilbertese translation needs—so just reach out whenever you’re ready!