Tsimshian interpreters and translators
CIT offers Tsimshian interpreters and translators with legal, medical and specialty experience, including criminal and civil matters, employee meetings, engineering, patent cases, labor disputes, immigration and more.
Although based in Los Angeles, CIT offers comprehensive Tsimshian language services including interpretation, translation and transcription, 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, worldwide. Our interpreters and translators are native speakers who have been screened, certified, have provided credentials, field tested, and kept up to date with developments in both English and the Tsimshian language through means such as lectures, conferences, and travel. CIT’s Tsimshian language interpreters and translators possess in depth knowledge of the Tsimshian language, as well as of the culture and history of the Tsimshian people, allowing them to provide informed and complete interpretation and translation.
The Tsimshian Language
The Tsimshian language is a Tsimshiac language spoken in Canada and in Alaska. In Canada, it is spoken specifically by the Skeena River in British Columbia. In Alaska, it is spoken at the Metlakatla on Annette Island. It is estimated that less than 1,000 people speak Tsimshian. The amount is not certain, as some believe that only about 70 Tsimshian speakers live in Alaska and a little over 600 live in Canada. Others believe that the number of Tsimshian speakers in Canada is far less. The word “Tsimshian” itself means Inside the Skeena River.
The Tsimshian language has two primary dialects. The first is the Coastal and the second is Southern. The Coastal dialect is spoken in Alaska while the Southern dialect is spoken in Canada. Most who speak the Tsimshian language are older than 70. It is a very endangered language. Today, Tsimshian is taught at the University of Alaska Southeast at Juneau.
The conventional writing system of Tsimshian that is currently used in Canada was created in the 1960s along with the similar languages like Gitskan and Nisga’a. In 1990, it was revised in order to be incorporated into textbooks. In Alaska, the Tsimshian writing system is slightly different than that of Canada. It is taught by the Dum baal-dum organization and is referred to as Shm’algyack. In Tsimshian, Shm’algyack means “real” or “true language.” In English Shm’algyack is written in Zimshian.
The Tsimshian are the largest group of First Nations living in British Columbia. Like other Native American tribes, the Tsimshian live according to a matrilineal kinship. Their societal structure is a clan system. Both property and descent come from the mother. Tsimshian folklore indicates that after terrible disasters and curses struck a village, the chief took his people away from the village to an area called Kitkatla Village, which is one of the three South Tsimshian villages. Today, Kitkatla still exists and is considered the most conservative of the three. During the winter, the Tsimshian would move to the islands (Metlakatla) and return to Kitkatla in the summer once the salmon returned as well. When several European immigrants arrived, the Tsimshian people contracted smallpox, wiping out many of the tribe. About 25% of Tsimshian people died due to these outbreaks.