Although English, Spanish, and French dominate the linguistic landscape of North and Central America, indigenous languages still thrive throughout the region. Below is a look at the most commonly spoken ones in the United States, Canada, Mexico, and Guatemala.

 

United States and Canada

 

Approximately 169 indigenous languages are spoken in the United States and 60 are spoken in Canada. The three largest include:

 

  • Navajo – 170,000. Navajo is the official language of the Navajo Nation. It’s also widely spoken in Arizona and New Mexico, and to a lesser extent in Colorado, California, Texas, Eastern Alaska, and Northwestern Canada. It belongs to the Na-Dené family.

 

  • Cree – 117,000. Cree is spoken by the Cree people across Canada, from Northwest Territories to Labrador. It’s an official language of Northwestern Territories and belongs to the Algonquin family.

 

  • Inuit – 65,025 in Canada and 16,581 in the U.S. Inuit is a closely related group of languages that belong to the Inuit-Yupik-Unangan family. Spoken primarily in Nunavut, Quebec, Labrador, and Alaska, these languages have official status in Nunavut.

 

Mexico

 

Sixty-three indigenous languages are recognized in Mexico. Three of the largest are among the country’s official languages. These include:

 

  • Nahuatl – 1.7 million. Nahuatl is spoken by the Nahua people in Central Mexico and in parts of the U.S. It belongs to the Uto-Aztecan language family.

 

  • Yucatec Maya – 792,000. Yucatec Maya, simply called “Maya speech” by its speakers is spoken in Yucatán, Quintana Roo, Campeche, and Northern Belize. It belongs to the Mayan family.

 

  • Mixtec – 500,934. Mixtec is spoken by the Mixteco people throughout Oaxaca, Puebla, Guerrero, and parts of the U.S. It belongs to the Oto-Manguean language family and has two major dialects: mixteco alto and mixteco bajo.

 

Guatemala

 

Twenty-one Mayan languages are formally recognized in Guatemala. The three most widely spoken ones belong to the Quichean-Mamean branch of the language family. These include:

 

  • K’iche – 2.3 million. K’iche is the second largest language in Guatemala, and the most widely spoken indigenous language in Mesoamerica. Spoken by the K’iche people of the northern highlands, it’s recognized as a minority language in the country.

 

  • Q’eqchi – 800,000. Q’eqchi is spoken within Q’eqchi communities across Northern Guatemala, Southern Belize, and in parts of Mexico. It’s an official language in Guatemala.

 

  • Kaqchikel – 450,000. Kacqhikel is spoken by the Kacqhikel people of the central highlands. It’s taught in public schools through Guatemala’s bilingual education program.

 

Indigenous Language Support at Boostlingo

 

Given the number of indigenous languages throughout North and Central America, you may be wondering how you can find an interpreter when you need one. Fortunately, we offer support for languages such as Navajo, Mixteco Alto, and Mixteco Bajo through our Boostlingo Professional interpreter Network (BPIN).

 

Want to learn more about how our interpreting platform can help you assist indigenous speakers? Contact us today!

 

From White House news briefings to the Super Bowl LV, American Sign Language (ASL) interpreters are enjoying the spotlight. Yet what you may not know is that deaf people who serve as ASL interpreters belong to their own category. Deaf interpreters such as Marla Berkowitz not only bridge the gap between ASL and English, but experience the challenges of being deaf in a hearing-centric world.

 

Here’s a look at the unique role deaf interpreters play and how they work with their hearing counterparts to create a more accessible society.

 

What is a Certified Deaf Interpreter?

 

Deaf interpreters (DI) are deaf individuals who have been trained to interpret between ASL and English. They must have excellent communication skills in both languages and may have had specialized training in the use of gestures, mime, and language development. They also have a deep understanding of deafness, the deaf community, and deaf culture.

 

Like their hearing counterparts, deaf interpreters can become certified. The Registry of Interpreters for the Deaf (RID) offers deaf individuals the ability to demonstrate their skills through written and performance tests. Those who pass are known as Certified Deaf Interpreters.

 

What Is a Deaf/Hearing Interpreting Team?

 

Deaf interpreters often work in deaf/hearing interpreting teams. They use a consecutive interpreting process where the hearing interpreter conveys the message to the deaf interpreter. Then the deaf interpreter interprets for the deaf individual.

 

These teams not only help ensure accuracy, but can make a deaf individual feel more comfortable during the process. However, like all ASL interpreters, deaf interpreters must remain neutral and are not advocates for either party.

 

When Should You Use a Deaf/Hearing Interpreting Team?

 

Deaf/Hearing interpreting teams typically work in legal situations due to the need for a high degree of accuracy. They’re also useful when you’re working with:

 

  • Deaf youth.
  • A developmentally disabled person.
  • Someone who uses a non-standard dialect of ASL.
  • Someone who uses foreign sign language.

 

Parents of deaf children may also prefer to work with a deaf/hearing interpreter team during medical appointments, evaluations, counseling, and other scenarios.

 

If you’d like to learn more about deaf/hearing interpreting teams, check out RID’s Standard Practice Papers on interpreting roles and issues.

 

How to Connect with an ASL Interpreter

 

Now, with anywhere from 250,000 to 500,000 American ASL users, you may be wondering how to find an ASL interpreter when you need one. Fortunately, it’s easier than ever with Boostlingo. Our video remote interpreting (VRI) platform lets you connect with an ASL interpreter—anytime, anywhere. All you need is a high-speed internet connection, computer or tablet, and a webcam to get started.

 

Want to try it out for yourself? Contact us today to start your free trial!

Whether you’re a novice interpreter or a seasoned professional, there’s always more to learn. And while the internet has made it easier than ever to access training, advice, and support, wading through search results can be a daunting task. That’s why we put together a roundup of YouTube channels that will help you boost your career and stay up-to-date on the industry.

 

So, without further ado, here are five YouTube channels worth following:

 

  1. De La Mora Institute for Interpretation

 

Founded in 1998, the De La Mora Institute for Interpretation provides training and guidance for interpreters of all languages and experience levels. Their official YouTube channel offers tips on interpreting, career advice, and more. It includes their “Subject to Interpretation” video podcast, which features conversations about professional interpretation with leaders in the field. You can also download the audio-only version via Apple Podcasts, Spotify, and Google Podcasts.

 

  1. EU Interpreters

 

EU Interpreters is an official YouTube channel of the European Commission. It features news, interpreting tips, and an inside look into working for the EU. Interpreters from around the world share their experiences, and provide their unique perspective on the cultural differences both inside and outside Europe. It’s especially helpful if you’re interested in

conference interpreting.

 

  1. Interprepedia

Owned by Rosa, a Spanish-English translator, Interprepedia features interpreter resources, reviews, and rants about the challenges of the role. Her channel includes advice about preparing for medical and legal certification exams, transitioning to remote interpreting, and more. If you’re interested in working in immigration court, you’ll definitely want to check out her channel.

 

  1. MIT Interpretations

 

The official YouTube channel of the interpreting agency of the same name, MIT Interpretations is hosted by founder and owner Yoana Todorova. The Denver-based Italian-English interpreter offers advice on growing your client list, certification exam prep, and more. Her videos on medical interpreting terminology are especially helpful if you want to work in the field.

 

  1. The Stews

 

Owned by Jill, a hearing American Sign Language (ASL) interpreter, The Stews covers interpreting tips, deaf culture, LBGTQ+ issues, and more. Jill’s wife Jenna, who is deaf, occasionally makes appearances and the two discuss the challenges of living in the hearing world. From hearing privilege to deaf parenting, the channel offers insight into navigating the world with a disability.

 

Growing Your Business with Boostlingo

 

While YouTube may offer a wealth of advice, it’s ultimately up to you to put it into practice. If you’re ready to take on new clients and grow your interpreting business, Boostlingo can help. Our interpretation platform makes it easy to manage your onsite interpreting schedule, take on-demand remote requests, and track your earnings all in one place. Best of all, it’s easy to use! All you need is a computer or tablet, a high-speed internet connection, and webcam for video calls.

 

Think Boostlingo may be right for you? Contact us today to start your free trial!