Report shows top languages in U.S. after Spanish

Arabic, Mandarin and Vietnamese were the top spoken languages in the United States after Spanish between the first quarter of 2011 and the first quarter of 2012, reports

The article, which pulled data from Language Line Services’ quarterly Interpreter Demand Index, stated that businesses, local governments, court systems, emergency services and health care agencies are increasingly relying on over-the-phone interpretation services companies such as Language Line Services to help them connect with their customers.

The trend is also reflected in local schools, where more and more nontraditional languages are being offered to students.

Demand for interpretations grows exponentially

More than 200 languages are spoken in Southern California, and the demand for companies that offer over-the-phone interpretations is growing exponentially, reports the Los Angeles Times. Language Line Services, a Monterey, Calif.-based company with annual revenue of $300 million, is the global industry leader and the company that banks, hospitals and other industries rely on to help communicate with their customers.

According to the article, demand has surged partly due to growth of U.S. immigration over the last few decades and the recent boom in international business transactions. Language Line Services currently offers interpretation services in 170 languages and is looking to grow the company by 2,000 translators in the coming year.

Language Line Services plans to hire 2,000 interpreters

Language Line Services, the nation’s leading over-the-phone interpretation company, plans to hire 2,000 new interpreters this year, reports the San Francisco Business Times

The Monterey, Calif.-based company says about 10 percent of the new hires will be in the greater Bay Area. Among them, 1,300 will be Spanish-speaking interpreters, along with 700 others who are fluent in Mandarin Chinese, Russian, Vietnamese, Korean, and Cantonese. Most of the new workers will work from home.

“It’s a great career opportunity,” said Louis F. Provenzano Jr., president and CEO of Language Line Services.

Multicultural opportunities in marketing on the rise

Louis F. Provenzano Jr. is CEO of Language Line Services.

An op-ed in today’s issue of Bulldog Reporter’s Daily ‘Dog by Louis F. Provenzano Jr., CEO of Language Line Services, discusses the multicultural opportunities emerging in the United States thanks to an increasingly linguistically diverse country. Studies show that ethnic groups are four times more likely to purchase a product when presented with buying opportunities in their own language.

Provenzano states there are roughly 200 languages — and up to 800 dialects — spoken in the United States, but no marketing or advertising companies are currently targeting all of them. In a time when many companies are looking internationally to boost their revenue streams, Provenzano suggests that companies look at the tremendous business and marketing opportunities in their own backyards.

Language Interpretation Services in Health Care Industry Reach Tipping Point in 2010

By Louis Provenzano
President of Language Line Services

Louis Provenzano

As posted on The Huffington Post

More than 24 million U.S. residents speak a language other than English or have trouble communicating clearly without resorting to their native tongues. The new health care plan being debated in Congress promises to bring millions more of these legal immigrants into a system already struggling to communicate with patients in their languages to assure they get the life-saving care they need. Is the health care system ready for more immigrants, even if they are here legally? Why should we embrace any language other than English anyway? Isn’t this America?

Given the burgeoning Hispanic population, Spanish is an obvious second language to English and is spoken throughout the health care system in the United States. Still, the more obscure of the 176-plus languages and various dialects used in doctors’ offices, at clinics, even in emergency rooms when timely attention matters most, often create the most opportunity for patient harm. Some of these patients are underprivileged, but many are not. Research shows that limited English-proficient (LEP) speakers come from all ages and income brackets. The most pressing language needs might surprise you since you’ve likely never heard of many of them: Arlington, Virginia, needs Krio interpreters (the language of Sierra Leone, Africa); Denver needs Karen speakers (spoken in Myanmar, formerly Burma); Seattle needs Oromo (Ethiopia); and Phoenix needs Dari (Afghanistan).

Federal law obligates health care providers receiving government funding to ensure language access to LEP individuals who cannot tell their doctor what hurts, but that hasn’t always been enough to ensure full adoption and save lives. Without guidance or consistent enforcement, hospitals and other medical facilities have responded to the federal language access requirement in dramatically different ways, with some offering in-house interpreters combined with over-the-phone language interpreting services and others offering much less. Even among those with formal interpreting services, the level of quality varies greatly. Fortunately, the states have started stepping up to strengthen interpretation services. A California law took effect on January 1, 2009, requiring all health plans to offer the same access to language services as enrollees in government plans; Hawaii requires language services in all state programs; Maryland mandates language assistance by hospitals and agencies receiving federal funds; Washington requires cultural competency training for physicians; and New York hospitals must develop language assistance programs.

Between 1990 and 2000, the percentage of Americans speaking a language other than English at home increased from 13.8 to 17.8 percent as the LEP population grew from 6.1 percent to 8.1 percent. As we enter a new decade, we’re at a point where this ongoing linguistic change cannot be refuted, and the combination of progressive language law, the expanding needs of an ever-evolving national landscape of patients and just plain common sense have us at a tipping point.

Yes, this is America — the ultimate melting pot. And, although our country is much more diverse and complex than many of us would sometimes like to acknowledge, these differences make us special and unlike any other nation that has ever been. History shows a strong tradition in the U.S. of eventually assimilating each wave of immigrants into our society, the majority of which do learn to speak English. But, the reality is that in 2010 we won’t be a country of one language, or even two or three. We are a country of nearly 200 languages — and cultures — and growing. That’s a good thing as we all benefit from the diverse backgrounds and cultural differences of each other. And, at some point, everyone has to go to the doctor.