Do you know what they speak in Cambodia?

Khmer is the official language spoken in Cambodia. Often it is referred to as Cambodian, but this would be incorrect. The language has several dialects although speakers of these dialects can mostly understand each other.

The language also has a unique alphabet written from left to right with vowels being written either as separate letters or as diacritics above below or on either side of a consonant. This is a language steeped in history and with a heritage that not only demonstrates inheritance from elsewhere in Asia, but also the parent language and alphabet to other regional languages.

Translation to and from this language is not something that is easily left to an English native speaker as the variety of dialects can catch the translator unawares. Professional translation is often needed for a variety of reasons.


Global businesses that engage with the markets in Cambodia will need reliable local translators that can manage the rigors of business language. The importance of this is clear when preparing reports and documents as well as overseeing the construction of websites that require both English and Khmer to be accessible.

Often businesses with an English or European base will need translation to be made into and from multiple regional languages and local highly skilled translators become necessary. While it is indeed possible to find a native English speaker that can speak one of the regional languages, as the need to translate in multiple languages and multiple dialects becomes necessary a local experienced translator becomes a necessity.

Business translations include areas such as legal translation, technical translation, marketing translation, financial translation and IT translation to name a few. These require experienced professional translators in their industries.


Translators may become necessary for diplomatic reasons. Often diplomats are stationed with a meager background to the language and translation is needed when important diplomatic issues arise.

Medical translation

Medical translators are a highly skilled group of translators and in some cases, may need more than one local language as well as English. There are situations that arise that an English speaking medical patient may need to transfer from Thailand to Cambodia or the reverse and a skilled translator will be needed to translate reports, prescriptions and information relating to the transit. Furthermore, translation may be needed for medical documents being couriered into Cambodia from abroad or out of Cambodia.


Educational texts can be used both in the classroom and in tourist related areas. There is some overlap with business but on the whole texts supporting institutions that teach either English, Khmer or both may be needed. It stands to reason that in the cases the use of both languages must be flawless.

Choosing your translator

Finding and instructing a good translator can be an onerous task depending on the reason why you’ll be needing one. It’s a good idea to seek out a company that operates solely in translation services. Specialist translation services with industry-specific specialists, medical specialists and education specialists who are not only fluent in the languages requiring translation, but also hold expertise in their field.

To appoint a good Khmer translator, you will need to identify one that is experienced and has knowledge of the dialects. Translators will have gained experience in both oral translation and document translation in many areas, such as those mentioned above.

Your translator will be able to reference satisfied clients and have a strong work background in both their field and use of language.

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