Spanish continues to be the most requested language for over-the-phone interpretations nationwide, while requests for Mandarin, Arabic, Vietnamese and Russian increased significantly across 20 major U.S. cities in the last year, according to a report released recently by Language Line Services, the global leader in interpretation and translation services.
Language Line Services uses proprietary data — from millions of interpreter-request calls the company fields each year — to rank the top 10 languages in each city by number of over-the-phone interpreter requests in the government and healthcare sectors. The ensuing quarterly report, titled the Language Line® LanguageTrak “Interpreter Demand Index(SM)” (IDI), also shows percentage growth in each language between Q3 2010 and Q3 2011.
“Many of the languages now being spoken in the U.S. are completely new to the country, and many organizations are simply not ready for them,” said Louis F. Provenzano, Jr., president & CEO of Language Line Services. “These new populations have to fend for themselves without the benefit of pre-existing generations with the same background and common language. There are critical needs in local governments, the court systems, healthcare agencies and emergency services that the language access industry can help overcome, but we’re not there yet.”
The LanguageTrak IDI(SM) reveals that Spanish continues to be the most requested language in all 20 cities, supporting 2011 Pew Hispanic Center and 2010 U.S. Census data. The largest increases in requests for Spanish were in San Antonio (46 percent) and El Paso (22 percent).
Interpreter requests for Mandarin, however, increased in more cities than any other language — in 14 out of the 20 cities. The highest increases were in Memphis (58 percent), Austin (44 percent) and San Antonio (43 percent). Mandarin was also among the top-five most requested languages in 17 of the 20 cities.
Arabic and Vietnamese both were among the top-five most requested languages in 12 of the 20 cities. Interpretation requests for both languages grew in 11 of the 20 cities. The highest increases for Arabic were all in Texas — in El Paso (314 percent), San Antonio (91 percent) and Houston (78 percent). The highest increases for Vietnamese were in El Paso (100 percent), New York City (62 percent) and Houston (48 percent).
Russian saw some noteworthy increases as well. Interpreter requests for the language increased in 10 of the 20 cities, with the highest jumps in San Diego (90 percent), Memphis (57 percent) and San Francisco (24 percent). Russian also was among the top-five most requested languages in 10 of the 20 cities.