Occupying just half of a major island in Southeast Asia, with a population of just under 9 million, Papua New Guinea is the world’s most linguistically diverse country, with more than 850 indigenous languages spoken across the relatively small territory. Most of these languages have fewer than 1000 speakers, with many severely endangered. Among other reasons, that’s because the country needs a lingua franca to tie all the different ethnolinguistic groups together. Tok Pisin functions as a partial lingua franca for Papua New Guinea.
Not everyone in Papua New Guinea speaks Tok Pisin—around half of the population does. English and Hiri Motu are also used as lingua francas in parts of the country, but Tok Pisin is the primary lingua franca and is frequently used for government debates and public information campaigns. The language only has around 120,000 native speakers, with an additional 4 million second-language speakers who speak one of Papua New Guinea’s many indigenous languages as their first. Even as Tok Pisin grows in prominence in the country, translation services for it are relatively scarce—so we at TranslationServices.com have compiled our own Tok Pisin translation team.
Tok Pisin translation may be more affordable than you think. Just ask us for a free quote today!
What is Tok Pisin, anyway?
Tok Pisin developed as an English-based creole language, originating as a lingua franca for Pacific Islanders who were sent to work on plantations in Queensland. The vocabulary is primarily derived from English but also exhibits influence from German, Portuguese, Malay, and other Austronesian languages, with many of the grammatical features coming from Austronesian conventions. English speakers may sometimes be able to decipher written Tok Pisin, but at other times, the language would be incomprehensible.
Tok Pisin’s pronoun system is much more complex than that of English. It features four numbers—singular, dual, trial, and plural, with two versions of the first-person pronoun for all numbers but singular depending on the inclusion of the listener. Nouns are not marked for number, despite the various numbers in the pronominal system. Verbal tense and aspect is usually marked through isolated particles—this is the case for the past and future tenses as well as the progressive aspect. Tok Pisin speakers can also make an intransitive verb transitive by adding the suffix -im, such as in luk (look) and lukim (see).
Tok Pisin is a wholly unique language that combines the features of various vastly different languages, and our translators are proud to navigate the challenges to produce high-quality translations.
No matter the direction, we provide accurate Tok Pisin translations.
When you look for Tok Pisin translation services, you need to determine whether you’re looking for translation from Tok Pisin to English or from English to Tok Pisin. Not all translators offer both—but our team does. So, if you want to translate Tok Pisin content into English—whether to take your business abroad, to convert important materials into another lingua franca of Papua New Guinea, or share history and literature from this diverse country, our team is ready to help. If you’d rather translate English content into Tok Pisin, we’re here to help you produce clear Tok Pisin research questionnaires, promotional business materials, or entertainment content such as books, websites, poems, and games.
If you’re ready for Tok Pisin translation services, reach out today to tell us the details!