KAZAKH is the state language of the Republic of Kazakhstan.
It belongs to the subgroup of the Turkic languages, which also includes nine other languages. The affiliation to the Turkic languages determines the serious difficulties in translation from and to Kazakh.
Language Policy in Kazakhstan
The importance of translations from and to Kazakh is determined not only by the fact that it is the native language for nearly 10 million people in Kazakhstan, but also because Kazakh is used by a large percentage of other nationalities living in the country (approximately 1.8 million people). This means that the translations from and to Kazakh concern also other nationalities living in the Republic of Kazakhstan (Russians, Ukrainians, Uzbeks, Uyghurs, Kyrgyz).
It should be noted that Kazakh is spoken by approximately 14 million people. In addition to the already mentioned inhabitants of Kazakhstan, by about 2 million - in China, more than one million in Uzbekistan, 800,000 in Russia, 100,000 in Turkmenistan and in Mongolia, about 40,000 in Kyrgyzstan. This fact further increases the need for translation from and to Kazakh.
Literary language and regional differences
The modern Kazakh language lacks dialect division and this significantly facilitates translations from and to Kazakh. However, three different accents can be distinguished: northeast, south and west.
As far as the language of the Kazakhs in China and Mongolia is concerned, some lexical differences exist due to the continued subsistence in a foreign language environment. However, there are no great regional differences of the Kazakh language and this is important for the translations from and to Kazakh. The reason for this is the geographical relief of Kazakhstan, which allows unobstructed contact between tribes and at the same time limits the contact with neighboring nations.
In the foundation of the Kazakh literary language according to the development of the state and culture, the northeast and the western accents are successively presented. The modern literary language is based on the accent of the former capital, Almaty.
Kazakh literary language was formed during the second half of the nineteenth century, thanks to the activity of the Kazakh enlighteners Abai Kunanbaev and Ibrai Altansarin. At that time the Arabic script was widely used. In 1929, the script of all non-Slavic nations of the former USSR was replaced with Latin script. In 1940 the Kazakh language changed its script again and started using the Cyrillic script, which was preserved even during the independence of Kazakhstan.
And yet, when translating from and to Kazakh, one should bear in mind that for the Kazakhs living in different countries it is a major problem to use different scripts. As noted already, the Kazakhs in Kazakhstan, Mongolia, the CIS countries (except Turkmenistan and Uzbekistan) and the Baltic countries use Cyrillic script. Those in Turkey, Europe and Latin America use Latin script. And the ones in China, Afghanistan, Iran and Arab countries use Arabic script.
For interpreting from and to Kazakh this is not a problem, the difficulty comes with written translations.