16M Khmer Speakers
The speaker must always pay attention to the hierarchical status of the person being spoken to. Pronouns and verbs change depending on a person’s status.
If you feel it is time to improve your time-management and pay more attention to your clients
The complexity of Khmer translation
1. The written language > Translation Service
- Vowels: The language contains 23 dependent vowels and 12 independent vowels. Their location can be before, after, above or below the consonant and sometimes a combination of all those. Additionally, it includes independent vowels that can stand alone without a preceding or trailing consonant. The independent vowels can be used as monosyllabic words, or as the initial syllables in longer words. The pronunciation of the vowels depends on the consonant they are attached to.
- Consonants: The script was adapted from the Pallava script. There are 35 consonants, although modern Khmer uses 33. Two were taken out because they became obsolete.
- Syllables and writing structure: Most of the syllables begin with a single consonant. If there are two consonants, they will come in a cluster, and sometimes there are clusters of three consonants. In the writing structure of the language, there are no spaces between words, instead, spaces are used to indicate that this is the end of a clause or a sentence.
- Verbs: The verbs do not change with tense or aspect. Moods can be expressed using auxiliary verbs, particles and adverbs. Such are yesterday, earlier, tomorrow, or maybe understood from the context.
2. The spoken language > Media Service
- Stress: In the Khmer language, the stress falls on the final syllable of a word and because of this predictable pattern, stress is non-phonemic. This means that it is not used to distinguish different meanings.
- Social status and honorifics: The speaker must be aware of the social status of the person he converses with. The different social statuses and honorifics include common speech, polite speech, speaking to royals or monks. They employ alternate verbs, names of body parts and pronouns to differ between the groups.
Moreover, Khmer is divided into three groups based on its historical evolvement ─ Old Khmer, Middle Khmer, and Modern Khmer. It is very important for a professional translator, for example, performing and English to Khmer translation to know the basic background for each specific evolution period of the language to avoid mistakes in the translations.