Persian is an Iranian language with approximately 110 million speakers worldwide. It is an official language in Iran (where it’s referred to as Farsi), Afghanistan (where it’s called Dari) and Tajikistan (where it’s called Tajik). However, the Academy of Persian Language and Literature prefers the name Persian. There are also significant populations of Persian speakers in countries such as Iraq, Oman, the United Arab Emirates and even the USA, where Los Angeles is sometimes referred to as ‘Tehrangeles’ due to the high number of Iranian immigrants living there. Historically, Persian was spoken in countries from the Middle East to India.
Persian was considered a cultural language – in fact, poetry in Persian was part of the court tradition in countries such as Turkey and India. It was the British East India Company that banned the use of Persian in the Mogul court in India in 1837. Persian poetry continues to be appreciated today: a verse by the poet Sa’di has been quoted by Barack Obama and is inscribed in the halls of the UN. The verse emphasises that people must help, empathise and care for each other. Its translation in English is:
Human beings are members of a whole,
in creation of one essence and soul.
If one member is afflicted with pain,
other members uneasy will remain.
If you have no sympathy for human pain,
The name of human you cannot retain.
Persian is written in an Arabic alphabet that has been adapted with four additional letters (6 vowels and 22 consonants in total). There are also 10 different dialects of Persian spoken worldwide. Persian has been heavily influenced by Arabic and there are many loanwords in Persian of Arabic origin, particularly Islamic terms. Persian has also been influenced by French, for example ‘mersi’ from the French ‘merci’, which is often used for ‘thank you’. Persian has also contributed some words to the English language, for example ‘pistachio’, ‘saffron’ and ‘spinach’. The oldest written example of Persian is the Cyrus Cylinder which tells the tale of Great King Cyrus of Persia’s conquest of Babylon in 539 BC and is on display at the British Museum.
Business Language Services Ltd. (BLS) specialises in Persian translation (both English to Persian and Persian to English). We have a broad network of highly experienced, qualified professional Persian translators, who only translate into their mother tongue. What’s more, all our Persian translations are proofread by a second, independent linguist. BLS has an extensive database of Persian interpreters, selected according to their expertise, specialist knowledge, friendly attitude and professional reliability. BLS also works with some of the best Persian language tutors, enabling us to offer you tailor-made courses to match your precise needs and suit your ongoing work commitments.