3.7M Hmong Speakers
The writing system used for the different dialects of Hmong is based on the Latin alphabet and only dates back to the 1950s.
Hmong is the language of the Hmong ethnic group that has a rich history and is spoken by millions of people nowadays. Hmong translation is a challenging service to perform for both translators and DTP due to the fact that it is a tonal language with complex phonology and many different dialects.
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The complexity of Hmong translation
1. The written language > Translation Service
- The dialects: The two main ones are Hmong Njua (Green Hmong) and Hmong Daw (White Hmong). They are mainly spoken by Hmong Americans. While the speakers of both dialects can understand each other, there are still differences between them. That is one of the reasons for our recommendation about being extra careful with Hmong translation.
2. The spoken language > Media Service
- The tone: There are 8 tones (though some say there are 7). There is a high tone, low tone, and even a low falling tone. Regardless of the tone of a word, the final printed word will have an indication of which tone should be used when that word is to be spoken.
- The difference: The written form of Hmong is vastly different from the spoken and that poses a challenge. It is written in the Latin alphabet but the spelling is not phonetically-alike. For example, Sib ntsib dua means “Goodbye” but it’s pronounced She jee doua.