Cal Interpreting & Translations (CIT) offers Avestan 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 Avestan 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 Avestan language through means such as lectures, conferences, and travel. CIT’s Avestan language interpreters and translators possess in depth knowledge of the Avestan language, as well as of the culture and history of the Avestan people, allowing them to provide informed and complete interpretation and translation.

History of the Avestan Language

The Avestan language, also known as Zend, is an extinct version of the Eastern Iranian language and was created in the 3rd and 4th centuries. It’s original purpose was to write hymns of Zarathustra, the Avesta. The hymns were initially passed on orally since the 1500s BC. As time progressed, the language became distorted thus requiring the language to be written down. Several of the letters are from the old Pahlavi alphabet in Persia, which derived from the Aramaic alphabet. There is also Greek influence that can be detected in the vowel sounds. When the Persia Empire converted to Islam, the Avestan Arabic alphabet replaced the Avestan alphabet in the 7th century. Soon after, the Zorastrians of India wrote their own alphabet in Avestan.

Language Characteristics

The Avestan language has two layers. The older layer, known as Gathas, reflects an ancient linguistic component, close to the Vedic Sanskrit of India. Most of Avestan is written in the more common and recent layer, showing the intention of simplifying the language to be spoken by the layman. It is presumed that the language became dead around 400 BC. Like other Semitic scripts, the language is written from right to left in a horizontal fashion. The alphabet is similar to that of Aramaic. The language itself has a lot of letters and consonants. Aramaic and Pahlavi, the languages of which Avestan derives, do not. Because Avestan was used for religious reasons, eventually it became important to distinguish certain pronunciations.