The Russian language is not native to all of Russia. In fact, it’s not native to most of Russia. Today, most people living in Russia speak Russian, since they need it for administrative purposes, to communicate with compatriots from other parts of the country, and sometimes for education, if instruction is not offered in their native language. Nonetheless, in some parts of modern-day Russia, people widely speak their ancestral languages as their native language. That’s the case in the North Caucasus for a number of languages, including Tabasaran.
Despite the ubiquity of Russian, most ethnic Tabasarans (97%) still speak Tabasaran today, with 87% speaking Russian. That works out to around 125,000 speakers of Tabasaran. But that doesn’t mean Tabasaran is a perfectly healthy language. With Russian influence continuously growing, some Tabasaran children aren’t learning their ancestral language, leading UNESCO to classify Tabasaran as vulnerable. Naturally, most translation firms won’t work with vulnerable languages, either. This is where TranslationServices.com is different from most translation companies. We’ve put together a Tabasaran translation team because we’re passionate about minority languages like Tabasaran.
Anyone who requests a quote for our Tabasaran translation services will receive one free of charge!
Tabasaran: a notoriously complex language
Most Tabasaran speakers reside in Tabasaransky District in southern Dagestan, an autonomous republic at the southernmost point of Russia’s North Caucasus region. Speakers use the Cyrillic alphabet, modified for Tabasaran phonology, to write the language, in line with the custom for indigenous languages in Russia. Tabasaran is part of the Northeast Caucasian language family, the dominant language family in Dagestan. Northeast Caucasian languages are known for their complexity, and Tabasaran is no exception.
Tabasaran was featured in the Guinness Book of World Records in 1997 as the “world’s most complex language,” classified as having the largest case system in the world with 48 cases. Linguists have since disputed this classification, arguing that Tabasaran’s relative Tsez has more cases when using the same methodology to count cases. But either way, Tabasaran’s complexity remains inarguable. Tabasaran features two grammatical genders: one for rational beings and one for animals and inanimate objects. Verbs are inflected for person and number (unusual for Northeast Caucasian languages) as well as a wide range of tenses and aspects. Additionally, Tabasaran is an ergative language, with transitive objects taking the same case as intransitive subjects and transitive subjects taking a different case.
Our Tabasaran translators offer translation both into and out of the language.
Tabasaran is indeed complex—there’s no denying that. However, this is simply another reason our Tabasaran translators are so proud of their language, and it pushes them to work even harder to translate to and from Tabasaran for our clients. If you have old documents written in Tabasaran, Tabasaran literature, or other Tabasaran-language content that you want to publish abroad, contact our team to translate them into English, the global lingua franca. If you have content in English—say, research questionnaires, or educational material, or content like books, websites, apps, games, poetry, and more, talk to our team about translating it into Tabasaran. Translations of this nature help Tabasaran speakers use their language in more areas of life, which makes it easier for the language to survive into the future.
We’d love to get started on your Tabasaran translation project. Message us today to tell us what you need.