If you thought the Mayan languages and culture were relegated to the past, relics of pre-Columbian history that no longer live on today, we’re pleased to inform you that that’s not true at all. While the Spanish language dominates life in Mexico, with most of the population speaking the massive Romance language, native speakers of indigenous languages still abound, with more than 6 million people in Central America speaking a Mayan language. In Mexico, the biggest Mayan language is Yucatec Maya, native to the Yucatán Peninsula, and in second place, we have Tzeltal.
You might be surprised to know that more than 590,000 people in Mexico are native speakers of Tzeltal, making it the fifth-most widely spoken Mayan language (K’iche’, Q’eqchi’, and Mam are exclusively spoken in Guatemala, so Tzeltal is the second-biggest Mayan language in Mexico). The language enjoys vigorous use in its homeland in southern Mexico, with as many as 50,000 people speaking Tzeltal as their only language. But most Tzeltal speakers have also learned Spanish, and indeed, the widespread use and prestige of Spanish constitute a serious threat for the continued vitality of Tzeltal. Compounded with a lack of resources such as translation services, Tzeltal requires active preservation efforts to continue to flourish, and we at TranslationServices.com are proud to do our part with our Tzeltal translation team.
How about checking out a free quote for our Tzeltal translation services? Just send us a message today!
We’d love to tell you a little more about Tzeltal.
Tzeltal comes from the Mayan language family, which features around 30 languages in southern Mexico and Guatemala. Specifically, Tzeltal is part of the Tzeltalan branch, which it forms with its close relative Tzotzil, spoken by around 560,000 people in the same state of Mexico: Chiapas. Tzeltal (and Tzotzil) demonstrate a number of fundamental differences from English, which can complicate translation efforts.
One of Tzeltal’s grammatical challenges is its ergative–absolutive alignment, which means the subject of a transitive verb (e.g., “I” in “I go”) is treated grammatically the same as the object of a transitive phrase (e.g., “me” in “He saw me”). If this is difficult to wrap your head around, think of it as a focus on the person being affected by the action rather than the person performing it. To make matters even more complicated, Tzeltal tends to form sentences in a verb-object-subject word order, with the verb coming first and the subject last, an order adopted by only 3% of the world’s languages.
Our Tzeltal translators are experts at navigating the challenges of Tzeltal.
Tzeltal’s grammatical particularities may sound incomprehensible to an English speaker, but to a Tzeltal native speaker, they’re second nature. Our translators have grown up speaking the unique Tzeltal language and are therefore skilled at weaving together flowing sentences in the Mayan tongue, seamlessly transmitting the subtle nuances of your original text into the translated version. We work with both Tzeltal-to-English translations and English-to-Tzeltal translations—whichever you’re looking for!
With their burning passion for their native language driving them forward, our Tzeltal translators have a lot of translation experience behind them, which allows them to translate your projects with carefully cultivated precision. Don’t worry about the type of translation project you have, because we have specialists of business translation, academic translation, literary translation, localization, and more on our team. And many of our Tzeltal translators are also well educated in other domains—the sciences, humanities, and beyond—so even if your content is filled with esoteric jargon, we’re confident we have the right Tzeltal translator for you on our team. Just tell us the type of Tzeltal translation you need (business, academic, literary, etc.), as well as the dialect you’re targeting and the topic, if you need your translator to be a subject-matter expert, and we’ll match you to the best-suited Tzeltal translator for your project.
We want to show you the power of Tzeltal translation services. Why not reach out today to get acquainted with our team?