Most people in China speak Mandarin, and with around 900 million speakers, Mandarin is the world’s largest native language. But that doesn’t mean it’s the only language in China—not by a long shot. Not only are there dozens of other Sinitic languages commonly referred to as Chinese dialects scattered across the country, but China is also home to hundreds of minority languages from different families, including Austroasiatic, Turkic, Mongolic, Tungusic, Tai–Kadai, and more. While these languages tend to be overshadowed by Mandarin, they’re completely unrelated and, in some cases, still maintain a vigorous speaker base.
One of the larger minority languages in China is Kam, from the Kam–Sui subfamily of the larger Tai–Kadai macrofamily. Also known as Dong, Gam, or Tung-Chia, Kam is spoken by approximately 1.5 million Dong people in southern China, specifically Guizhou, Hunan, and Guangxi. If the other Kam–Sui languages are counted, the collective number of speakers increases by several hundred thousand, particularly with the addition of Sui, which boasts 300,000 speakers. Some Sui speakers live in Vietnam, although the vast majority of speakers of Kam–Sui languages reside in China. Unfortunately, Kam and its sister languages face pressure from Mandarin and other Chinese languages, and there aren’t many translation services available for them. So, we at TranslationServices.com have compiled a translation team of our own for the Kam languages.
To get a free quote for our translation services for Kam, Sui, and other related languages, contact us now.
A brief exploration of the Kam languages
Despite being spoken in China and, to the untrained ear, sounding similar to the Chinese languages, Kam and its sisters are completely unrelated to Chinese. In fact, as members of the Tai–Kadai family, the Kam–Sui languages are instead related to Thai and Lao. About a dozen distinct languages populate this branch of Tai–Kadai, the largest being Kam and Sui. Here’s a complete list:
Kam (Gam, Dong, Tung-Chia)
Then (Yanghuang, T’en, Ten)
Nuoxi Yao (Nuoxi, Nuoxihua)
Given that the Kam–Sui languages are spoken in China, one might assume they’re written in Chinese characters, and indeed, this is sometimes the case, with Kam speakers adopting similarly pronounced Chinese characters to represent sounds in their own language. However, Kam and its sisters are usually written in the Latin alphabet, making them distinct from Mandarin in writing.
Kam grammar shares similar features to other languages in Southeast Asia—the Kam–Sui languages are highly analytic with minimal inflection, instead using word order and particles to endow sentences with grammatical information. While a lack of inflection may sound simpler, this can result in more ambiguity and complicate translation endeavors. Kam is also known for its considerable number of tones: 15.
Passionate Kam translators ready to help you
To bring you the best in translation services for the Kam–Sui languages, we looked far and wide across southern China and compiled a team of passionate, experienced translators of Kam and its sister languages. With the expertise to translate both to and from Kam, our team is ready to help with whatever Kam translation needs you might have. Here are just a few examples:
Business translation. Are you a Kam-speaking business that wants a piece of the global market? Or are you an English-speaking organization that wants to connect with speakers of Kam–Sui languages? Whichever the case, you can rely on our Kam business translators to translate everything from financial reports, business plans, and employment contracts to press releases, posters, and website copy.
Learning materials. As many as a million Kam speakers are monolingual, so the only opportunity many Kam-speaking children have to earn an education is through Kam. Our team can help you translate pedagogical content into Kam–Sui languages to both provide Kam-speaking children with a robust education and boost their literacy in their native language.
Creative writing. Whether it’s traditional Kam folklore, a brand-new English-language novel, eloquent poetry, or an immersive video game, our Kam–Sui translation team is ready to help you translate creative content between English and the Kam languages. This is a fantastic way to share Kam culture with the world or to produce interesting new content in the Kam–Sui languages.
Ready to get started with Kam translation services? Simply reach out to let us know what kind of content you want translated to or from which Kam–Sui language!