Store  |  Press  |  Calendar  |  About  |  Contact  |  Mailing List  |  Awards  |  Photos  |  Login  |  Home
 



Minority Languages

IMIA CLASSIFICATION OF MINORITY LANGUAGES

For medical interpretation purposes, the NON-minority languages listed below, classified as those with relatively greater opportunities of certification, association membership, staff positions, or training, are roughly the following in the US:

NON-minority languages:

1. English
2. Spanish
3. ASL
4. Mandarin & Cantonese
5. Vietnamese
6. Russian
7. Korean
8. Arabic
9. French
10. German

See US Census list 

The IMIA is committed to all languages and dialects which require interpreting services worldwide. Minority languages, also called languages of lesser diffusion (in the US), are those languages for which there are not many speakers in the local country but for which there are real language access needs and for whom those speakers have an equal right for language access. There is also the limited availability of interpreters for those languages, and for training, hiring opportunities and testing opportunities for those minority language interpreters.

If you speak a language or dialect that is not listed here, then you are a minority language interpreter. Some of our members are majority and minority language interpreters as they might speak several languages and dialects. If you speak ONE minority language not on the lists below, depending on where you practice (within or outside the US) please consider yourself a minority language interpreter and please help us promote the professional development, training, and hiring practices to meet the minority language needs of medical interpreters and the patients they serve.
 


The Archive of the Indigenous Languages of Latin America

Ongoing Minority Languages Survey for New MLD Members



Inside the United States

In the United States, these would be languages that are not considered in the top 20 category within the US. If you speak a language or dialect that is not listed here, then you are a minority language interpreter. Some of our members are majority and minority language interpreters as they might speak several languages and dialects. If you speak ONE minority language not on the list below, please consider yourself a minority language interpreter and please help us promote the professional development, training, and hiring practices to meet minority language needs.

Top 20 languages spoken in the U.S.
(some adjustment is required based on the 2010 Census)

English - 215 million
Spanish - 28 million
Chinese languages - 2.0 million + (mostly Cantonese speakers, with a growing group of Mandarin speakers)
French - 1.6 million
German - 1.4 million (High German) + German dialects like Hutterite German, Texas German, Pennsylvania German, Plautdietsch
Italian - 1.3 million
Tagalog - 1.2 million + (Most Filipinos may also know other Philippine languages, e.g. Ilokano, Pangasinan, Bikol languages, and Visayan languages)
Vietnamese - 1.01 million
Korean - 890,000
Russian - 710,000
Polish - 670,000
Arabic - 610,000
Portuguese - 560,000
Japanese - 480,000
French Creole - 450,000 (mostly Louisiana Creole French - 334,500)
Greek - 370,000
Hindi - 320,000
Persian - 310,000 (Farsi)
Urdu - 260,000
Gujarati - 240,000
Armenian - 200,000

The IMIA is seeking volunteers who want to help the organization do outreach to medical interpreters in minority languages not on the lists above. Please email info@imiaweb.org if you are interested in helping us do just that.

Alaska OKs Bill Making Native Languages Official

Books on Minority Languages

BBC Radio has a current series on endangered languages

Indigenous Languages of the US and Canada

Indigenous Languages of Mexico, Central and South America

Indigenous Languages of Australia
 
Questions?  Contact: minoritylanguages@imiaweb.org


 

 

Additional Documents

>Minority Language Opportunities Survey 2012

>Language Use in US 2007 published April 2010

>MLD Meeting Minutes May 2013

© 2019, International Medical Interpreters Association   |   Site map Bookmark and Share

Find us online:   Facebook page @IMIAUpdates Twitter page Individual LinkedIn page IMIA YouTube page