Sylheti (native name Silôţi; Bengali name Sileţi) is the language of Sylhet, the north eastern region of Bangladesh, called Sylhet Division, which is comprised of four administrative districts: Sylhet Central, Moulavi Bazaar, Sunamgonj and Hobigonj. It is also spoken in parts of the north-east Indian states of Assam (the Barak valley) and Tripura (the north Tripura district), and amongst the large expatriate communities in the United Kingdom, United States, and countries of the Gulf States.
Sylheti is spoken by an overwhelming number of the Bangladeshi British community living in the UK and spread across the British Isles, mostly concentrated in the Greater London area. It is related to the rural dialects of eastern Bengal, but with a high proportion of words derived from Persian and Arabic, and a distinct grammar.
There are two things that make Sylheti an important language in its own right, and not a colloquial or ‘peasant’ corruption of Bengali as some have alleged. Firstly, Sylheti is the language of choice not just of the illiterate, but also of educated Sylhetis who can function well in Bengali when they choose to. Secondly, Sylheti is the only regional language related to Bengali which developed its own folk literature in its own script, Sylheti Nagari.
When we receive enquiries about translation or interpreting for Bangladeshi clients, we will always ask whether standard Bengali or Sylheti is required, as the two are not mutually intelligible, although many of our interpreters are fluent in both.
Our Sylheti language translation and interpreting services include:
- Document translation
- Client interviews
- Court appearances
- Immigration interviews
- Prison visits
- Business meetings
- Client presentations
- Factory/site visits
- Hospital visits
- International trade fairs