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Welcome to A Foreign Language Service - AFLS!

As a trusted leading language service provider, AFLS provides document translation and language interpreting to clients around world. We offer services in 400 languages including high-demand ones such as Chinese, Spanish, Arabic, Russian, French, and American Sign Language (ASL). We also provide support in rare, endangered, and emerging languages like Basque, Irish Gaelic, Ojibwe, and Quechua.

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We Have Your Language!

Certified Interpreting and Translation Services in 400 Languages

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Why Work With Us?

Dedicated Team

As language professionals with over 25 years experience, we are dedicated to providing exceptional services

Our team provides fast, customized solutions based on the needs of your clients and customers

Custom Solutions
Professional Linguists

We partner with highly-qualified translators and interpreters located in communities around the world

Better Business Bureau
400 Languages

Certified translation and interpreting services in 400 languages, including American Sign Language

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Smiling woman in conversation at table illustrates how AFLS offers language interpreting services.
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Language Needs
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Every Language Matters!

Ask us today about how our interpreting and translation agency expertise and services can help you and your customers and clients with your language needs! We provide free quotes for services in 400 languages across government and business sectors around the world.

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Our Partnerships

We partner with a variety of professional associations, government agencies, medical and legal organizations, and small and large businesses to provide the best possible language solutions for our clients.
National Council on Interpreting in Healthcare
Better Business Bureau

American Translators and Interpreters

National Association for the Deaf
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Professional Interpreters & Document Translators

Since our founding in 1993, A Foreign Language Service (AFLS) has broken the communications barrier by providing professional interpreters and document translators in over 400 languages including American Sign Language (ASL) - and counting. Our contracted linguistic talent combined with dedicated customer service has made us the premier provider of interpreting, translation, and localization services to the greater Metropolitan Phoenix area, around Arizona, and across the United States.

We Have Your Language!

As the "400 Language People,"  we provide exceptional contract services in a variety of languages including those that are rare and emerging.  What sets us apart from similar type of companies is the sheer volume of languages coupled with our unique ability to always customize a communications solution unique to each client! Please use our "Language Search" tool to see if your language is listed or you can view our list of the most commonly requested languages.

Whether you are an individual who needs help filling out a government form,  a large hospital requesting an interpreter for a medical exam, or a small business who needs to have marketing materials translated for a multicultural audience, AFLS is there for you. Browse through our website or give us a call at (480) 813-4242 or (844)-813-4242 to let us know how we can help you with your communication needs. Or you can simply contact us via email with any questions that you may have.

More Awesome Rare Books In Forgotten Languages

More Awesome Rare Books In Forgotten Languages

What are some of the world’s rare books in forgotten languages? In this post, we explore awesome texts that have intrigued and mystified scholars and linguists throughout history. The Epic of Gilgamesh, the first text we investigate, gives a fascinating insight into the long-dead language of Akkadian. The amazing Pyrgi gold tablets, our second text, came to light in the mid-twentieth century. They have since helped to provide insight into other classic texts. The Rohonc Codex, our third manuscript, has an unknown origin. Scholars still seek to untangle this text’s mysterious history. Enjoy this tour of awesome rare books in forgotten languages that still have the power to intrigue and enthrall all who encounter them.

Epic of Gilgamesh (Akkadian)

Written in the long-dead language of Akkadian, the Epic of Gilgamesh serves as one of the world’s oldest surviving literary works. Clay tablets helped to preserve the Mesopotamian epic poem. Scholars believe the tablets date from the 18th and the 13th to 10th centuries BC. The best preserved version of the epic is a set of 7th-century BC tablets from the library of an Assyrian king. The 4,000-year-old narrative recounts the epic adventures of Gilgamesh, king of Uruk. In the story, Uruk loses a beloved friend, Enkidu, and then searches for him throughout the Netherworld.

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The Akkadian language, which shares the Sumerian alphabet, has a grammar comparable to ancient Arabic and was one of the major languages of the Ancient Near East for close to 2,000 years. Photo by Abene Sebei from Pexels.

Transcribed on clay tablets, the standard version of the Epic of Gilgamesh reflects a literary dialect of Akkadian. The Akkadian language shares the Sumerian alphabet. It also serves as a record in cuneiform, the oldest known writing system. In addition, the Akkadian language contains a grammar comparable to ancient Arabic. Before it began to decline in of common use after 8 BCE, Akkadian was one of the major languages of the Ancient Near East, where modern-day Iraq, Kuwait, and neighboring countries are located, for close to 2,000 years. Akkadian served as a language of diplomacy for the region. Even after it fell out of use, the language continued to be employed by scholars and priests.

Illuminating the Ancient Clay Tablets with Modern Translations

Lost for centuries, the clay tablets containing the Epic of Gilgamesh were rediscovered in the 1850s. Scholars published the first modern translation of the epic in the 1870s. Since then, dozens of translations have been published of the fragmented narrative from the original clay tablets. No one knows exactly what Akkadian would sound like. Despite this fact, scholars have sought to recreate the language and to bring its literature to life for contemporary audiences. You can hear a scholar’s oral rendering of the Epic of Gilgamesh, along with other Sumerian works. For a highly readable, poetic rendering of the Epic of Gilgamesh, read David Ferry’s engaging translation. The tablets themselves, one of the world’s prize rare books in forgotten languages, are held by the British Museum among their research collections and are viewable online.

Pyrgi Gold Tablets (Phoenician and Etruscan)

Unearthed in 1964 during an archeological excavation of an ancient Italian port, the Pyrgi gold tablets date from around 500 B.C. The tablets serve as a rare example of an ancient bilingual text. Written in two languages, Etruscan and Phoenician, they differ from other texts of the same period. The holes around the edges of three gold plates indicate they once attached to one another. As a result, scholars believe the Pyrgi tablet represent one manuscript instead of three different ones. The inscription on the plates or leaves include a dedication to a Phoenician goddess and may relate to a Roman and Carthaginian treaty.

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The Etruscan Museum in Rome houses the “Pyrgi tablets,” laminated sheets of gold with a treatise both in Etruscan and Phoenician languages. Photo by Pufacz from Wikimedia Commons, the free media repository.

Deciphering a Forgotten Language with Bilingual Gold Tablets

Two of the tablets contain Etruscan and one contains Phoenician. The bilingual nature of the tablets have provided a unique opportunity for linguists to decipher the challenging Etruscan language. Estruscan served as the spoken and written language of the Etruscan civilization in ancient Italy. As such, the language impacted Latin and its descendants, including English and Romance languages like French and Italian. In addition to the Pyrgi gold tablets, the Etruscan civilization left some 13,000 inscriptions behind, a number of which can be viewed online at the Etruscan Texts Project.

The Pyrgi gold tablets were discovered in the ancient port of Pyrgi where modern-day Santa Severa can be found, in the town of Caere, Italy. The dedication on the tablets is by then king of Caere Thefarie Velianas to the Phoenician goddess Ashtaret or Astarte. As one of the world’s rare books in forgotten languages, the Pyrgi gold tablets are currently housed at the National Etruscan Museum in Villa Giulia, Rome, Italy. You can read more about the Etruscan language and grammar, along with the English translation of a series of Etruscan inscriptions, in Giuliano Bonfante and Larissa Bonfante’s book The Estruscan Language: An Introduction.

The Rohonc Codex (Unknown)

Discovered in Hungary in the 1839, the Rohonc Codex has mystified linguists and scientists for more than a century. The Codex manuscript contains 448 hand-written, richly-illustrated pages. Scholars believed that the codex gave evidence of an unknown language. The tiny 10 × 12 centimeter book also contains close to 90 religious and military images. Efforts to decipher Codex’s the close to 200 symbols met with naught. For many years linguists did not know who wrote the text or what the text said. Some scholars even posited the Codex gives evidence of an elaborate antiquarian hoax.

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The Codex contains paraphrases of passages from the Biblical New Testament, such as the Nativity scene depicted here in the painting “The Star of Bethlehem” by Sir Edward Burne-Jones. Photo by Birmingham Museums Trust on Unsplash.

Unraveling the Artificial Code of a Puzzling Codex

Recent findings have indicated that the Codex is not written in an ancient alphabet at all, but instead written in an artificial code system. Due to these findings, scholars believe the Codex to have been written around 1592 CE. The unique book’s content includes paraphrases of passages from the Biblical New Testament. These paraphrases include a narration of the passion of Jesus Christ from the Gospels. The text also contains non-Biblical passages, like prayers to the Virgin Mary.

The Codex, or Rohonci kódex in Hungarian, is one of the world’s rare books in forgotten languages and is held by the Library of the Hungarian Academy of Sciences. The book’s unique code system and visual symbology can also be viewed online. If you are curious and detail-oriented, you can even hunt down Benedek Láng’s book about the Codex’s mysterious history and those who have sought to unlock it.

Support Linguistic Diversity Through Language Interpreting And Translation Services

As a trusted leading language service provider, A Foreign Language Service – AFLS provides OPI/ VRI interpreting and on-site interpreting, certified document translation, and localization services to clients around the world. We offer services in up to 400 languages, including high demand ones such as Chinese, Spanish, Arabic, and American Sign Language (ASL). Depending on your needs, we can also provide support in endangered and emerging languages like Basque, Irish Gaelic, and Quechua. In this vital work, we collaborate with a network of 1500-strong passionate, licensed professional translators and interpreters based throughout the world. Our clients include global brands and government agencies, as well as the medical, legal, business, and education communities. At AFLS, we understand the power and importance of language. We know that every language matters. Your language matters. Contact us today for a free quote!

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