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Lao Translation

Lao Translation

Translations in Target Language Translation Services offers translation and interpretation services to businesses and individuals with our specialist team, which includes linguists with years of experience in over 75 languages, including Lao or Laotian in various fields and competences.
Although many of our Lao linguists are located in Laos we also have a large number of mother tongue Lao linguists and interpreters dispersed all around the world. Our global Project Management presence and dispersed teams of Lao linguists means that we can offer you real advantages where you have tight turnaround requirements.

Lao-speaking countries


About Lao
Lao is a Tai-Kadai language spoken mainly in Laos, and also in Cambodia and Vietnam. In 2015 there were about 3.4 million native speakers of Lao in Laos, and another 800,000 people spoke it as a second language. In 2009 there were about 18,500 Lao speakers in northwest Cambodia, and there were 14,900 speakers in Vietnam.
Lao is closely related to Thai and speakers of Lao are able to understand spoken Thai without too many difficulties. Thai speakers find it more difficult to understand Lao due to lack of exposure to the language. The language family is also known as Kradai, Kra-Dai, Daic or Kadai.

Lao alphabet (ອັກສອນລາວ)
After the unification of the Lao principalities (meuang) in the 14th century, the Lan Xang monarchs commissioned their scholars to create a new script to write the Lao language. The scholars probably modelled the alphabet on the the Old Khmer script, which was itself based on Mon scripts.

Notable features
• Type of writing system: syllabic alphabet / abugida
• Direction of writing: left to right in horizontal lines
• Syllables are based around consonants. Vowels are indicated with diacritics which can appear above, below or around the consonant letters. When they occur on their own or at the beginning of a word, vowels are attached to the glottal stop symbol (the final letter in the third row of consonants).
• Lao is a tonal language with 6 tones. The tone of a syllable is determined by a combination of the class of consonant, the type of syllable (open or closed), the tone marker and the length of the vowel (see below).
• For some consonants there are multiple letters. Originally they represented separate sounds, but over the years the distinction between those sounds was lost and the letters were used instead to indicate tones. Various offical reforms of the Lao script have reduced the number of duplicate consonants.
• There are no spaces between words, instead spaces in a Lao text indicate the end of a clause or sentence.
• Written Lao is based on the dialect of the Lao capital, Vientiene.
• There is no official Latin transliteration system for Lao. In Laos, French-based systems are used and there is considerable variation in spelling, particularly of vowels. In Thailand, the Royal Thai General Transcription is used.
The Lao script is also used to write: Tai Dam, Lave, Eastern Bru, Western Bru, Mong Njua, Iu Mien, Jeh, Kuy, Kataang, Lü, Khmu, Western Katu, Lamet, Hmong Daw, Ngeq, Pacoh, Phunoi, Upper Ta'oih and Lower Ta'oih

Lao alphabet (ອັກສອນລາວ)
The transcription system used here is one used by the British Permanent Committee on Geographical Names (BGN/PCGN).

Consonants are divided into three classes which help to determine the tone of a syllable (indicated by the numbers below). The sounds represented by some consonants change when they are used at the end of a syllable (indicated by the letters on the right of the slash below). The consonants can all be used at the beginning of a syllable but only some can be used at the end of a syllable.

Lao Consonants

The consonants in the final row are compounds and conjuncts used as alternatives to the basic consonants.

Vowel diacritics (with k)
Lao Vowel diacritics


Lao numerals

Tone indication


Open syllables

Closed syllables *



tone marker

short vowel

long vowel

Class 1



high falling


low falling

Class 2

low rising


low falling


low falling

Class 3



high falling


high falling

* Closed syllables are those ending with p, t or k

How much does a translation into Lao cost?
The standard rate for translations from English into Lao is $ 0.12. For urgent jobs that need several linguists working simultaneously, we will apply a surcharge.

Just contact us to get more information and a no-obligation quote. Our project managers can be reached via telephone, email, or the form. We look forward to serving you.

For more information about Lao translation,
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