CIT offers Mayan 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 Mayan 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 Mayan language through means such as lectures, conferences, and travel. CIT’s Mayan language interpreters and translators possess in depth knowledge of the Mayan language, as well as of the culture and history of the Mayan people, allowing them to provide informed and complete interpretation and translation.
The Mayan Family of Languages
Over 6 million people, mainly in Central America, speak Mayan. There are approximately 69 languages that compose the Mayan language family. The Mayan language is believed to have originated about 5000 years ago from the Proto-Mayan family of languages. The primary speakers of Proto-Mayan were those who lived in the Mayan empire, many of which their remains can be found in modern day Guatemala, Belize, Honduras, El Salvador and southern Mexico. The Mayan empire was quite powerful and successful for many centuries from 1500 BC but came to a downfall around the 9th and 10th centuries AD.
Today, the largest bodies of Mayan speaking people are found in Mexico, specifically in the Yucatan, Campeche, Quitana Roo, Tabasco and Chiapas states. Historically speaking, Mayan has been well documented and the language classifications have been widely accepted by the Mayan people. The 69 language groups that Mayan is divided into are based widely on the ancestors who spoke the language. The first language to split from the Mayan languages was the Huastecan branch of languages, composed of Huastec and Chicomuceltec, which are now extinct languages. The next language to branch off was Yucatecan family, comprosed of Yucatec Maya, Lacandon, Itzaj and Mopan. The largest branch of Mayan, known as Core Mayan, broke into several other languages. They include: Greater Tzeltana, Greater Q’anjob’alan and Eastern Mayan. Greater Tzeltalan broke into Ch’olan and Tzeltan. Ch’olan langues include Chontoa, Ch’ol, Ch’orti and Cholti, which is extinct. Tzeltanan includes Tzeltan and Tzolzil. Greater Q’anjob’alan is comprised of Q’anjob’alan (made up of Mocho’, Tuzantec, Q’anjob’al, Akateko, Jakalteko) and Chujean (Chuj and Tojolabal). Eastern Mayan has two branches: K’ichean (K’iche’, Kaqchike, Tz’utujil, Sakapulteko, Sipakepeno, Poqomam, Poqomchi’ Uspanteko, Q’eqchi’). Mamean languages include Mam, Teco, Awakateko and Ixil.
In the 4th and 3rd centuries BC up until the 1600s, the Mayan languages was written in a complex hieroglyphic writing system. It had not been accurately deciphered until the mid 1900s. Since the language was deciphered, historians were much better able to understand Mayan history. It has been noted that the main speakers of the Classic Maya languages were the Ch’olan language speakers. They had a large influence on those who spoke Mayan and their non-speaking Mayan neighbors.
Interesting Facts about the Mayan
- Mayan temples and pyramids are still being discovered today!
- Their writing as in a very complex form on hieroglyphics
- The Mayan calendar did not actually predict the end of the world
- The Maya people invited the tooth grill!
- Children would have their skulls bound to elongate their skulls, most probably to indicate social status
- They engaged in heavy sports