The Tibetan Language
The Tibetan language belongs to the Tibeto-Burman language group. Six million people speak Tibetan as their native language. Most of them live in Tibet, but a few live in India, Nepal, and Bhutan.
Tibetan is written using its own Tibetan alphabet, which evolved from a variant of the ancient Indian Brahmi script. In addition to Chinese, Tibetan is the official language of the Tibet Autonomous Region, as well as some other regions of China where there are Tibetan populations.
Four-fifths of the population of Tibet speaks Tibetan, placing Tibetans among China’s least assimilated ethnic groups.
Tibetan in everyday life in Tibet
Tibet has a very high illiteracy rate. At the same time, almost all elementary schools in the Tibet Autonomous Region are conducted in the Tibetan language, while Chinese is merely taught as a foreign language.
Later on in secondary schools, mathematics and natural sciences are taught exclusively in Chinese. In Tibetan colleges and universities, Chinese is the only language of instruction.
Tibetan has a very strong presence in the media, however. There are more than 20 Tibetan language newspapers and magazines to be found in Tibet alone. Some radio and television stations broadcast in Tibetan, and even Tibetan language films are occasionally produced. There are also book publishers who print books in Tibetan.
As it’s the official language, all governmental, judiciary, and administrative forms, as well as all street signs in Tibet, are bilingual.
Linguistic idiosyncrasies of Tibetan
Classical and Modern Standard Tibetan are no different from each other when written. Tibetan is made up of several dialects, however, which are not entirely mutually intelligible.
Tibetan is linguistically classified as an inflected, ergative language. A distinctive feature is how abstract nouns are formed by combining opposing adjectives. The word for temperature, "tsha-grang," is literally the combination of the two adjectives for hot and cold. Tibetan also has a special word order in that the subject always comes first, followed by the object, and finally the verb.
How much does a translation into Tibetan cost?
For new customers or large texts (more than 5,000 words), we may significantly reduce our rates. For urgent jobs that need several translators working simultaneously, we'll apply a surcharge. Please send us your document for a quote.
Or, if you’re in need for a translation of an official document from Tibet, we can help you in our webshop for certified translations. You’ll see pricing and turnaround times for most common documents in Tibetan.
Flawless translations into and from Tibetan
If you’re in Tibet on business, or you’re doing business with someone in Tibet, you may need a translation into the language. If you’re a Tibetan in another country like the United States, you might need your birth certificate or other official record translated from Tibetan into English and then certified for the USCIS.
We can handle any type of translation project. Our translators speak Tibetan as their mother tongue and know the specifics of the language well. Or we’ll use an English native speaker who is also fluent in Tibetan. With our extensive network of translators, it’s easy for us to assign a professional who can handle your project.
This is even true of different fields and industries that require subject matter expertise and knowledge of terminology. All of our translators are experts in at least one subject area. Some of them are even doctors and lawyers.
Our project managers can assist with any questions regarding translations and will draw up a free and no-obligation quote for you. Simply send us the text you’d like to have translated either by email or using the request form. Or give us a call. We look forward to hearing from you!
The translation agency Fasttranslator will do your translations into and from Tibetan paired with one of over 150 languages. Please contact us by email or phone today.
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