The Tamil language
Tamil is from the Dravidian language family, and primarily finds its voice among the Tamil community in India and Sri Lanka. It carries the weight of deep-rooted history and rich literary traditions, making it one of the few ancient languages still alive and kicking today.
Origins and History:
- Tamil traces its roots back to around the 3rd century BCE, with its structure and form evolving over the ages.
- “Sangam” texts are the earliest known Tamil literature, a collection of poetry and literature dating back to the early Christian era.
- Tamil has been influenced by Sanskrit, Portuguese, Dutch, and English throughout history but has maintained its unique script and grammar.
Number of Speakers:
- Tamil is the mother tongue (Native Language) of roughly 75 million people globally.
- About 9 million people have embraced Tamil as a second language.
- Tamil-speaking communities have created homes away from home in Malaysia, Singapore, Mauritius, and several Middle Eastern countries.
Official Language Status:
- India – Tamil takes pride of place as one of the 22 scheduled languages of India and is the official language of the state of Tamil Nadu.
- Sri Lanka – Tamil enjoys official status in Sri Lanka, sharing this honour with Sinhala.
- Singapore – Tamil is one of the four recognised official languages in Singapore
Example of Text:
Here’s a snippet from the timeless Tamil classic, “Thirukkural” by Thiruvalluvar:
“அகர முதல எழுத்தெல்லாம் ஆதி
பகவன் முதற்றே உலகு”
- Literature: Tamil’s literature is rich and diverse, with a variety of genres, including poetry, epics, and philosophical texts
- Screen and Media: The robust Tamil film industry, or Kollywood, uses Tamil extensively. Tamil news channels and newspapers are popular among the Tamil-speaking population.
- Religious Practices: Many Hindu religious texts are written in Tamil and used in religious ceremonies in Hinduism.
- Education: Tamil is taught in schools and universities in regions where it is spoken natively.
English Words Used in Tamil:
The English language has coloured modern Tamil, especially in urban environments and among the younger generation. Here are a few examples:
- “Bus” (பஸ்)
- “Computer” (கம்ப்யூடர்)
- “Hospital” (ஆஸ்பத்திரி)
Tamil Words Absorbed into English:
Through the British colonial presence in India, some Tamil words found their way into the English lexicon:
- “Curry” from “kari” (கறி)
- “Mango” from “māṅga” (மாங்கா)
- “Catamaran” from “kattumaram” (கட்டுமரம்)
Tamil is a precious heirloom, passed down through generations, keeping the Tamil culture, history, and identity alive. Its influence extends beyond its geographical confines, and its evolution continues to mirror the vibrant life of its speakers. Be it through ancient literature, contemporary cinema, or everyday chit-chat, Tamil is a fascinating linguistic tapestry, forever weaving new stories.
For any international business, the importance of Tamil must not be underestimated.
Here at Brightlines, we only use Tamil translation specialists who have used Tamil since birth. Our Tamil translation services include quality assurance, copywriting and voiceovers.
Our translation services - FAQ
Do you use native translators?
Yes, always. All our translators are native speakers and most are still resident in their native country. We pride ourselves on ensuring that all Brightlines’ translators are native. We do not accept applications from non-native candidates or allow them to register on our online recruitment database. All our translators are rigorously tested.
How long will the translations take?
The turnaround for the translation will depend on the word count. As a rough guide, assume that the translators can comfortably process about 2500 words of non-specialised text per day. Proofreading can effectively be completed on a basis of 4000-6000 words a day. Our minimum turnaround time is usually about three days, although it is possible to shorten this if you are in a rush for the final files and we will always be happy to discuss this with you.
What is the variation in your translators’ experience and qualifications? Are they native speakers? Will the cost increase if we use a more experienced translator?
All our translators have to go through a series of tests to make sure they are as good as they say they are, and only if they pass are they allowed to work for Brightlines. There is quite a range of experience and qualifications, but all translators have a minimum of five years’ experience. All translators translate into their mother-tongue without exception and are generally based in-country so they are up-to-date with the local language. We match translators with projects/clients depending on the subject matter, and most of our translators have industry experience in their speciality – there is no better experience than being immersed professionally in the industry they specialise in. Our costs are based on translator experience, speciality (i.e. medical, creative, scientific) and the language choice.
Which languages can you translate into?
We have an extensive database with hundreds of trusted and tested translators covering all commercial languages. If you cannot see the language or dialect you need please ask.
I don’t know the word count; can you base the quote on the number of pages?
Our pricing structure is based on a rate-per-word, but we can estimate from a page count. If we can’t see the source document then we would usually estimate between 300 – 500 words a page depending on the density of the text and the presence of photos and images.
Does the translation need to be proofread?
Brightlines is an ISO 9001:2015 certified company. This means that quality is safeguarded. We adhere to the “four-eyes principle” and translations are always checked by a second professional proofreader (who is not the translator). If the translation is for internal use and reference purposes only (i.e. not to be published, distributed or used in a court of law), or you simply don’t wish to have proofreading, we can remove the proofreading stage.