There are some 337 spoken languages in the United States, according to US Census data. However, about 80% of Americans are still monolingual in English. The United States has an exceptionally broad cultural and ethnic mix of peoples whose core population speaks only one language, English. That sets it apart from many countries, such as European countries, whose populations are relatively uniform, but whose population speaks more than one language. The isolation of core population from diverse language minorities around it creates special challenges for translators in America.
The population of the United States is 320 million. The recent American Community Survey lists 229 million Americans as English speakers. Spanish is the second most common language with 35 million speakers. Chinese languages are spoken by 2.6 million. The survey lists 26 other major languages with one million or fewer speakers.
At the same time, with all its linguistic isolation, the participation of the United States in world trade has drastically increased. Foreign investment in the United States has increased more than 600 percent over the last 20 years. This means the need for precise translation has increased drastically. Similar rapid increases have taken place for export trade exchange between the United States and other countries. Globalization has vastly increased the need for translation services.
For legal and contractual purposes, translators must be able to confidently certify their translations. There are cases where legal action has been taken against translators whose interpretations were critically in error. Sometimes translators must provide cultural consulting to augment their translations. They translate all kinds of documents from website content to legal documents. Translators are hired to translate medical and healthcare documents, financial documents, and marketing documents. In some cases, translators are hired to translate the screen contents of software to make the programs exportable to other countries. In the case where legal documents are translated from a foreign language into English, the translator must be aware of the law in the non-English country. These documents can not be translated literally, since the meaning of written terminology may not match in the two legal systems.
Teck Language Solutions Inc. is a major United States based provider of translation services with a large team of professional translators from diverse professional backgrounds. Please contact us for more information.