Industry Buzz

Rapid Growth in Arabic, Vietnamese Across Country

While Spanish remains the most popular language nationwide behind English, the demand for Arabic and Vietnamese showed strong growth across 20 major U.S. cities between the second quarter of 2010 and the second quarter of this year, according to a report released recently by Language Line Services in Monterey, CA.

The report, titled the Language Line® LanguageTrak Interpreter Demand Indexsm (IDI), uses proprietary data to rank the top 10 languages in each city by number of over-the-phone interpreter requests in the government and health care sectors. The LanguageTrak IDI also shows percentage growth in each language.

"This real-time information addresses the ever-changing language needs of cities years before similar data is unveiled from the next U.S. Census," said Louis Provenzano, Jr., president and CEO of Language Line Services, which fields millions of interpreter request calls each year. "This allows local governments, court systems, health care agencies and emergency services to better anticipate critical needs in their communities and ensure access to essential services."

Spanish continues to be the most requested language in all 20 cities, supporting 2011 Pew Hispanic Center and 2010 U.S. Census data.

Interpreter requests in Arabic are rapidly growing, however, with increases in 13 of the 20 cities. The highest increases were in Houston (45.8 percent), San Antonio (39.7 percent), and Philadelphia (37.4 percent). Arabic also is among the top five most requested languages in 11 of the 20 cities. 

Requests for Vietnamese also increased in 13 of the 20 cities. The highest increases were in New York City (66.2 percent), Houston (45.9 percent), and Dallas (25.5 percent).Vietnamese is also among the top five most requested languages in 14 of the 20 cities. 

Other surprising findings included increases in interpreter requests of Cantonese (423 percent) and Spanish (141.3 percent) in San Antonio; of Amharic (400 percent), Nepali (366.7 percent), and Somali (150 percent) in Memphis; of Haitian Creole (271.4 percent) in Indianapolis; of Gujarati (146.2 percent) and Russian (38.5 percent) in Chicago; of Nepali in Austin (128.6 percent) and Dallas (50.3 percent); of Karen (122.6 percent) in Jacksonville, FL; of Swahili in Houston (87.3 percent), Fort Worth (74.6 percent), and Austin (38.2 percent); of Burmese (64.7 percent) in Charlotte; of Bengali (57.1 percent) and Hmong (37.1 percent) in Detroit; and of Armenian (13.7 percent) in Los Angeles.

Karen, spoken by 1.3 million in Myanmar, formerly Burma, is one of the fastest growing languages in the United States.

To receive a copy of the complete report, email and type "LanguageTrak" in the subject field.

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