Most people associate South America with Spanish, but Spanish certainly isn’t the only language found across the massive continent. For one thing, Brazil represents a huge wedge in Spanish’s domination of South America, as Brazilians speak Portuguese. Also, in Guyana, Suriname, and French Guiana, the official languages are English, Dutch, and French, respectively. But the linguistic situation of South America goes far beyond that. Hundreds of indigenous languages dot the landscape, hailing from disparate families, with many still spoken by sizable populations today. Wayuu is one of these languages—one of the biggest ones, in fact.
Wayuu (sometimes called Guajiro) is spoken as a native language by around 420,000 people, making it the fourth-biggest indigenous language in South America, coming in after Quechua, Guarani, and Aymara. Unfortunately, however, the number of speakers is lower than it could be, with only around half of the ethnic Wayuu population speaking their ancestral language. The language is endangered, with most Wayuu speakers bilingual in Spanish, but efforts to promote and preserve Wayuu, with dictionaries and lessons, are underway. Translation services are also lacking for the Wayuu-speaking population, but here at TranslationServices.com, we’re doing our best to fill this gap with our new Wayuu translation team.
If you want to see a quote for our Wayuu translation services, just let us know! We already provide quotes for free.
Discovering Wayuu, one of South America’s biggest indigenous languages
Despite only having 420,000 speakers, Wayuu is spoken across national borders on the Guajira Peninsula, shared between Colombia and Venezuela. Colombia accounts for a larger proportion of Wayuu speakers, and the country has even established the Kamusuchiwo’u Ethno-educative Center to promote the language. Wayuu, part of the Arawakan language family that spans across South America and the Caribbean, comes in two key mutually intelligible varieties: Wüinpümüin and Wopumüin, spoken in the northeast and southwest of the Guajira Peninsula, respectively.
Wayuu grammar differs substantially from that of English. One clear example is in Wayuu’s inalienable nouns—specific nouns, such as body parts or kinship terms, that are inherently part of someone and thus must always appear in a possessed form. Possessive prefixes are attached to these nouns to indicate who they belong to, with an impersonal prefix appended when the owner isn’t specified. Wayuu also doesn’t use many adjectives—unlike in English, most adjectives in Wayuu are instead communicated through verbs that express the state of being or having the given quality.
Would you like us to translate to or from Wayuu?
Wayuu may be a far cry from English, but objectively speaking, it’s no more difficult, and native Wayuu children can pick up the language just as easily as English-speaking kids learn their language. So, don’t worry—our native-speaking Wayuu translators understand all the intricacies of this precious South American language and are excited to provide the best Wayuu translation services on the web. Our team works with clients from the Guajira Peninsula looking to engage readers in other parts of the world as well as clients from different countries who want to connect with Wayuu people—so whether you need translation to or from Wayuu, we have you covered.
What kind of documents can we translate? Well, just about anything. Some of our Wayuu translators are well acquainted with the business world and can help you prepare corporate documents or marketing materials to boost your presence in the Guajira Peninsula elsewhere. Other translators on our team are knowledgeable in particular disciplines and can help academics and subject-matter experts translate technical material between English and Wayuu. We also have literary translators and localization experts on our team, meaning we can help you share Wayuu stories with the wider world, or bring foreign stories and media to the Wayuu people, expanding the body of literature in the endangered Arawakan language.
Would you like to get started with Wayuu translation services? Our team is ready—just reach out with the details of your project!