Tamil Translation Services

Tamil Translators and Interpreters

If you deal with clients or deponents from Tamil-speaking parts of India and Sri Lanka, sooner or later you will be looking for a competent English to Tamil translator, or an English to Tamil interpreter.

Tamil is recognized by the Indian government as one of the six classical languages, with the other five being Sanskrit, Kannada, Telugu, Malayalam, Odia. Tamil falls under the Dravidian family of languages. The earliest work written in Tamil is approximately 2500 years old, and classical linguists assume that spoken Tamil must have existed longer than that.

Tamil is one of the official languages of India, of Sri Lanka, and of Singapore. Tamil is spoken by about 75 million Tamil native speakers worldwide. The majority of Tamil speakers- about 70 million- live in the south Indian state of Tamil Nadu (meaning: country).

Tamil is also recognized as a minority language in South Africa, Malaysia and Mauritius. There are 247 characters in the Tamil script, and additional characters are also used from the Grantha script. These 247 characters are comprised of 12 vowels, 18 consonants, one special character, and 216 composite characters, made up of both vowels and consonants.

Tamil to English Translations Worldwide

Tamil started spreading from Tamil Nadu to other South and South East Asian countries through the expansions of kingdoms centuries ago. Significant Tamil migrations happened during the British colonial period, and Tamils were taken to Sri Lanka, the Caribbean Islands, Fiji Islands, South Africa and Mauritius to work at tea, rubber and sugar cane plantations. Outside of India, Sri Lanka has the largest Tamil speaking population in the world- approximately 3 million.

There are two distinct Tamil speaking communities in Sri Lanka. “Sri Lankan Tamils” is a sect of Tamil speakers who have been living in the Northern and the Eastern provinces of Sri Lanka for centuries. The other group called “Indian Tamils of Sri Lanka” immigrated to the Upcountry region of Sri Lanka to work at tea and rubber plantations during the British colonial period.

There are considerable numbers of Tamils in Singapore and Malaysia who migrated there for plantation work during the British colonial period. Today there are over 500,000 Tamils speakers living in Canada (mainly in Toronto), the UK, France and other European nations that left Sri Lanka as refugees during the peak of the Sri Lankan civil war in the 1990s and 2000s.

According to the data from the U.S. Census Bureau, there are approximately 240,000 Tamil speakers residing in the United States, and the majority of them are migrant skilled workers from India. Most of them live in the New Jersey and New York area. There are also approximately 1,200 Tamils in Denver, Colorado, USA. So it is highly likely that your law firm or your hospital would be needing services of a Tamil to English deposition interpreter, or a Tamil to English medical interpreter.

Tamil Spoken in India, Sri Lanka, Singapore, Malaysia

Tamil is a diglossic language, and while its written form is fairly universal in the countries with Tamil-speaking population, its colloquial form is different. The greatest difference in spoken Tamil is observed between the Indian Tamils and the Sri Lankan (North, Eastern) Tamils. Tamils from Malaysia and Singapore speak Tamil that is similar to the Tamil spoken by the Indian Tamils. For example, Pesunga (meaning: speak) is used among Indian Tamils and Kadhainga is used by Sri Lankan Tamils.

Sri Lankan Tamils are known for their literacy and fluency in Tamil. This has a lot to do with the medium of education of Sri Lankan Tamils compared to Indian Tamils. In Sri Lanka it is mandatory for the residents of Sri Lanka to obtain their primary and secondary education in their native language. In other words, in Sri Lanka the language of instruction for native speakers of Sinhalese is Sinhala, and the language of instruction for native speakers of Tamil is Tamil. The new rule mandates that children attending government schools get their primary education in their native language (either Sinhala, or Tamil) but starting from middle school the child can choose among three languages of instruction: Sinhala, Tamil, and English.

In Tamil Nadu there is no such rule, and people can choose to learn in any language they want. Therefore, the majority of people from the larger cities in India learn all their subjects in English and learn Tamil as a language course only, while a lot of Tamil Nadu people from rural areas have Tamil as their language of instruction. This leads to the amalgamation of English and Tamil when native Tamil speakers start using a considerable number of English words because they are not familiar with the Tamil equivalents.

Certified Translations from Tamil to English

Tamil is an extremely complex language where a mispronunciation of a word could mean something entirely different. For example, Kondu (meaning: bring) and Kondru (meaning: kill) are similarly sounding words when you speak at a regular pace, but they mean two different things. The word Vaal can mean Live, Sword and Tail depending how it is written and pronounced. Tamil is also one of the few languages in which changing the order of subject, verb and object would still preserve the meaning of a given sentence.

Due to the complexity of the Tamil language it is important to use experienced English to Tamil translators and interpreters, and Tamil to English translators and interpreters.

All Language Alliance, Inc. provides Tamil deposition interpreters, English to Tamil document translation services, and Tamil to English certified document translation services for political asylum and various court cases. Contact our legal translation service today to reserve a Tamil translator or a Tamil interpreter for a deposition or a change of status immigration interview by filling out the “USA Translation/ Interpreting Service” form on your right.

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