Kurdish Translation Services

Whether you are looking for a Kurdish translation for something technical, legal or medical, or simply a letter, we can help you.

We will equip you with knowledge and methods, enabling you to communicate in the correct written Kurdish form, whether you are targeting an audience in Turkey, Kurdistan or Syria, we can help. Remember not to pick the wrong one!

We offer a professional Kurdish to English and Kurdish to Kurdish language translation service, and more. Here is some information which you will find useful as the Kurdish language is full of interesting facts and essential tips when you are looking to communicate effectively in Kurdish speaking countries.

Location: West Asia
Language Family: Indo-Iranian
Number of Global Speakers: Around 25-30 million natives

About Kurdish

Today, Central Kurdish is an official language in Iraq. Kurdish is a “macro-language”, and is a continuum of dialects spoken over a large territory, encompassing Turkey, Kurdistan, Iran, Syria, Iraq, Armenia, Georgia and Azerbaijan. It is spoken by the Kurds, an ethnic group in the Middle East. The Kurds are the majority population of the autonomous region of Iraqi Kurdistan and the autonomous region of Rojava. There are also diaspora communities of considerable size in certain Western countries, primarily in Germany. Because of the language’s wide spread across Western Asia and Europe, it is difficult to estimate with any certainty how many Kurdish native speakers there are, but recent estimates have put numbers at 25 to 30 million. According to KONDA, a leading research and consultancy company in Turkey, close to 12% of the total population of Turkey (74.7 million) speaks Kurdish as their native or second language. Additionally, the CIA World Factbook states that 10% of Iran’s total population also speaks Kurdish.

Due to the Kurdish diaspora and the considerable Kurdish minority communities now settled in Western Europe (most significantly Germany, with up to 800,000 Kurds), high quality and professional Kurdish translation and interpreting services are in high demand. Translation of medical and legal documents as well as government letters and other correspondence are always required, and interpreting for a wide variety of public service and private needs must constantly be provided. Look no further than Lingua Translations, who can offer Kurdish translation and interpreting services to and from a wide variety of languages.

Written Kurdish

Written Kurdish

There is no standardised script used to write Kurdish, due to the influences of the many countries in which Kurdish is used. Historically, Kurdish was written using a form of the Persian alphabet, and between 1920 and 1929 it was written with an adapted Armenian script in Soviet Armenia.

Today, Kurdish is written using the Latin alphabet in Turkey. This is still problematic, however, because although Kurdish was legalised in Turkey in 1991, Kurds have been able to officially take Kurdish names since 2003 and some of the laws repressing the Kurds and their language have been lifted, Kurds have historically not been allowed to use the letters x, w or q, which are common in Kurdish but do not exist in Turkey’s version of the Latin alphabet.

In parts of the former Soviet Union, Kurdish is written with a Cyrillic script, but it can also be written using an Arabic script.

Dialects of Kurdish

The Kurdish Academy of Languages separates the Kurdish dialects into three major categories: Central Kurdish (or Sorani), Northern Kurdish (or Kurmanji) and Southern Kurdish (or Pehlewani). Unlike some other languages, where the comparisons between them can be likened to the differences between British and American English or mainland and Latin American Spanish, there is debate over whether these groups should be classified as languages in their own right or dialects of the same language, as they are not mutually intelligible. Each of these groups can be broken down into several dialectical varieties.

Central Kurdish: this dialect is spoken by the Kurds in Eastern Kurdistan (Iran) and Southern Kurdstan (Iraq). There are around 8 million speakers of Central Kurdish in these areas, according to the Kurdish Academy of Language (KAL). The Central Dialect is viewed as the literary form of Kurdish.

Northern Kurdish: this is the dialect of Kurdish spoken in Turkey, as well as by those in Syria. It is spoken by about three quarters of Kurds today. There are currently about 18 million speakers of Northern Kurdish dialects today, according to KAL.

Southern Kurdish: this dialect is predominant in far southern Kurdistan (both Iran and Iraq), in the areas of Shehreban, Dínewer, Hemedan, Kirmashan, Xanekin, Mendelí and Pehle. This group of dialects is slowly giving way to Central Kurdish due to the influx of Southern Kurdish refugees in Central Kurdish areas.

Difficulties of Kurdish translation

It is difficult to pick out specific grammar and vocabulary divergences from English that pose difficulties in Kurdish translation. Rather, the main difficulty that presents itself is the fact that each country or area in which Kurdish is spoken uses its own script, and that each dialect is mutually unintelligible. There is no one “standard” Kurdish to translate or interpret from and into. Therefore, you must know where your client or target audience come from and what dialect of Kurdish they speak before undertaking your interpreting assignment or translation project.

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