Sinhalese Translators and Interpreters
English to Sinhala interpreter services are occasionally required by the U.S.-based attorneys practicing civil litigation, immigration law, and criminal law throughout the United States. And there is a growing demand for certified translations of legal documents from Sinhala to English to be used as evidence in applications for political asylum in the U.S. and in various court cases.
Sri Lanka is an island nation situated a few hundred miles off the southern tip of India. The country has a written history of over 2500 years. There are three major ethnic groups that call Sri Lanka their home, namely Sinhalese (~75%), Tamils (~14%) and Moors/Muslims (~10%). The major languages spoken in Sri Lanka are Sinhala, Tamil and English, with Sinhala and Tamil being official languages of the country.
Sri Lanka, officially the Democratic Socialist Republic of Sri Lanka, has a colonial history dating back to the 16th century when the Portuguese colonized Sri Lanka for about 150 years, followed by the Dutch for 135 years, and, finally, the British for another 150 years before becoming independent in 1948. Therefore, one can still see some of the remnants of the past colonial rule in Sri Lanka and its people, especially in the names of towns, streets and surnames of people. For example, it is quite common to come across surnames, such as Perera, Fernando, Alwis (Alves), Rodrigo, D’Souza, van Dort, Jansz, van Buren, etc. The persons with these type of surnames are known as the burghers. Some of them are descendants of the Dutch rulers, and some other are religious converts who took those names. This is common mostly among the coastal Sinhalese and Tamils. Sri Lanka as it is known today was called Ceilao by the Portuguese, Seylan by the Dutch and the Ceylon by the British during their respective rule.
Sinhala, the Lingua Franca of Sri Lanka
Sinhala, also known as Sinhalese, also spelled Singhalese or Cingalese, dates back to 5th century B.C. It is an Indo-Aryan language, heavily influenced by Pali (the sacred language in which most Buddhist scriptures are written), and by Sanskrit. The modern version of Sinhala has been spoken since the 12th century. Sinhala has taken loanwords from Portuguese, Dutch, Tamil and English over the years, and those words have been integrated into the Sinhala vocabulary over time. Sinhala is widely spoken throughout the country- with the exception of a few places in the North and the East- where Tamil is spoken by the majority.
Almost all of the Sinhalese (the people whose native language is Sinhala) speak Sinhala. A considerable number of Tamils and Muslims also speak Sinhala fluently although their written skills may not be up to the mark.
Sinhala is the Lingua Franca in Sri Lanka, and most government offices (with the exception of those in the North, East and the Central Upcountry) operate predominantly in Sinhala, even though Tamil is also an official language of Sri Lanka. Oftentimes Tamil Sri Lankans are well versed in Tamil and English but the official documentation they carry might be in Sinhala which they do not understand.
Where is Sinhala spoken?
Sinhala is an official language only in Sri Lanka. It is spoken by about 16 million native speakers in Sri Lanka. In addition, about half-a-million Sinhala speakers are scattered worldwide.
Sinhala Speakers in the United States
According to US census bureau, there are about 50,000 Sri Lankan-Americans living in the U.S. Most of them reside in California, Washington D.C., and New York, and many more Sri Lankans are dispersed throughout the country, including Denver, Colorado. A substantial number of Sri Lankan immigrants entered the U.S. in the 1990s during the 30-year Sri Lankan Civil War that lasted from the early 1980s to 2009. The war was fought between the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE), a Tamil separatist movement which demanded a separate nation for the Tamils of the North and the East, and the Sri Lankan armed forces.
Sinhala: Nuances in Speech and Culture
Although spoken Sinhala is fairly standard throughout the country, there are minor differences in the way people residing in different regions of the country use it. For example, the standard verb Wapuranna (meaning: sow) is pronounced Wapuranta by the Kandyan/Upcountry Sinhalese, and Wapuranda by the Sinhalese living in the Uva region. A curry/dish is sometimes called Maaluwa depending on the kind of dish and the region of people who are saying it. Maaluwaa in Sinhala also means “fish”. Therefore, your English to Sinhala translators and interpreters need to understand the cultural and regional differences within the Sinhalese language in order to provide accurate translation and interpretation from Sinhala to English.
Sinhala Deposition Interpreter Services via Zoom
All Language Alliance, Inc. is the expert in translation of legal, medical and academic documents from Sinhala to English and from English to Sinhala; in delivering Sinhala deposition interpreting services and Sinhala medical interpreters in Denver, CO, and elsewhere; and in providing expert witness services in the Sinhalese language and culture. Contact our legal translation service to inquire about hiring a Sinhalese deposition interpreter for a Zoom deposition, an in-person Sinhala deposition interpreter, a Sinhala medical interpreter for an IME, and to get an estimate for having Sinhala social media evidence, voice recordings and documents translated to English, and for having English documents translated to Sinhala for court cases.
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