Diversity is at the heart of America. As populations continue to shift, and we become more diverse, the need for effective language services increases in all industries across the United States and qualified interpreters and translators are high-value members in serving the needs of linguistically diverse populations.
The growing need for language services and new technologies like video remote interpreting is shaped by population, demographic, and language trends.
Becoming aware of emerging language trends in major American markets will provide a better understanding of how to best serve the cultural and linguistic needs of today’s diverse populations.
Emerging Language Trends that Inform Language Services in U.S. Markets
Foreign-born Population Influences
Over the past 50 years, nearly 59 Million immigrants have come to the United States, driving population growth and change. About 14% of the total U.S. population is foreign-born. Immigrant population growth alone has accounted for 29% of U.S. population growth since 2000 – and looking ahead – between 2015 and 2065, they are projected to account for 88% of the U.S. population increase. Immigration trends highlight the need for effective language interpretation solutions across the U.S. Pew Research
Spanish Language and Hispanic Influence Surges in the United States: 50% of U.S. population growth from 2010 to 2015 has come from Hispanics, and the U.S. Census expects the U.S. Latino population to more than double within the next two generations. The U.S. Hispanic market was booming in 2015 at $1.3 trillion. In 2020, that amount is expected to reach $1.7 trillion. Neilsen
Asian Languages and Asian Influence Surges in the United States: According to Selig Center Director, Jeff Humphreys, Hispanic and Asian consumers are driving the U.S. economy forward. The Asian market, roughly 18.3 million Americans, was $825 billion in 2015 and is projected to grow to $1.1 trillion in 2020. UGA
Research has shown that people prefer to do business in their native language, especially when they have limited-English proficiency. This gives organizations an opportunity to speak directly to these markets in the language they prefer.
Language Trends: Language Diversity in the United States
The United States Census Bureau reports at least 350 languages spoken in U.S. homes. In fact, 1 in 5 U.S. residents speaks a language other than English at home. Spanish is the most common non-English language spoken in the United States with 41 million native Spanish speakers as of 2016.
According to the 2016 American Community Survey, languages spoken at home with over 1 million speakers (over the age of 5) include:
- Spanish – 40.5 million
- Chinese (including Mandarin and Cantonese) – 3.4 million
- Tagalog (including Filipino) – 1.7 million
- Vietnamese – 1.5 million
- Arabic – 1.2 million
- French – 1.2 million
- Korean – 1.1 million
View an interactive map of languages spoken in the United States below.
Language Trends in Major American Markets: 15 largest U.S. Metro Areas
- Languages spoken in New York homes: At least 192
- Percentage of New York metro area population that speaks a language other than English at home: 38%
- Most Common Non-English Language: Spanish, 22.6% (native speakers)
- Bengali is one of the smaller language groups in New York: 105,765 speakers
- Languages spoken in Los Angeles homes: At least 185
- Percentage of Los Angeles metro area population that speaks a language other than English at home: 54%
- Most Common Non-English Language: Spanish, 39.4% (native speakers)
- Indonesian is one of the smaller language groups in Los Angeles: 12,750 speakers
- Languages spoken in Chicago homes: At least 153
- Percentage of Chicago metro area population that speaks a language other than English at home: 29%
- Most Common Non-English Language: Spanish, 39.4% (native speakers)
- Serbian is one of the smaller language groups in Chicago: 17,490 speakers
- Languages spoken in Dallas homes: At least 156
- Percentage of Dallas metro area population that speaks a language other than English at home: 30%
- Most Common Non-English Language: Spanish, 33.9% (native speakers)
- Telugu is one of the smaller language groups in Dallas: 12,630 speakers
- Languages spoken in Philadelphia homes: At least 146
- Percentage of Philadelphia metro area population that speaks a language other than English at home: 15%
- Most Common Non-English Language: Spanish, 9.3% (native speakers)
- Malayalam is one of the smaller language groups in Philadelphia: 10,370 speakers
- Languages spoken in Houston homes: At least 145
- Percentage of Houston metro area population that speaks a language other than English at home: 37%
- Most Common Non-English Language: Spanish, 33.7% (native speakers)
- Tamil is one of the smaller language groups in Houston: 4,690 speakers
- Languages spoken in Washington D.C. homes: At least 168
- Percentage of Washington D.C. population that speaks a language other than English at home: 26%
- Most Common Non-English Language: Spanish, 7.55% (native speakers)
- Amharic is one of the smaller language groups in Washington D.C.: 43,125 speakers
- Languages spoken in Miami homes: At least 128
- Percentage of Miami population that speaks a language other than English at home: 51%
- Most Common Non-English Language: Spanish, 62.9% (native speakers)
- Romanian is one of the smaller language groups in Miami: 5,295 speakers
- Languages spoken in Atlanta homes: At least 146
- Percentage of Atlanta population that speaks a language other than English at home: 17%
- Most Common Non-English Language: Spanish, 4.09% (native speakers)
- Swahili is one of the smaller language groups in Atlanta: 4,195 speakers
- Languages spoken in Boston homes: At least 138
- Percentage of Boston population that speaks a language other than English at home: 23%
- Most Common Non-English Language: Spanish, 15.1% (native speakers)
- Albanian is one of the smaller language groups in Boston: 6,800 speakers
- Languages spoken in San Francisco homes: At least 163
- Percentage of San Francisco population that speaks a language other than English at home: 40%
- Most Common Non-English Language: Chinese, 17.2% (native speakers)
- Panjabi is one of the smaller language groups in San Francisco: 19,985 speakers
- Languages spoken in Detroit homes: At least 126
- Percentage of Detroit population that speaks a language other than English at home: 12%
- Most Common Non-English Language: Spanish, 6.27% (native speakers)
- Syriac is one of the smaller language groups in Detroit: 23,175 speakers
- Languages spoken in Riverside homes: At least 145
- Percentage of Riverside population that speaks a language other than English at home: 40%
- Most Common Non-English Language: Spanish, 30.8% (native speakers)
- Dutch is one of the smaller language groups in Riverside: 2,425 speakers
- Languages spoken in Phoenix homes: At least 163
- Percentage of Phoenix population that speaks a language other than English at home: 26%
- Most Common Non-English Language: Spanish, 27.6% (native speakers)
- Pima is one of the smaller language groups in Phoenix: 3,050 speakers
- Languages spoken in Seattle homes: At least 166
- Percentage of Seattle population that speaks a language other than English at home: 22%
- Most Common Non-English Language: Spanish, 3.95% (native speakers)
- Ukrainian is one of the smaller language groups in Seattle: 15,850 speakers
Limited English Proficiency in the United States
More than 25 million U.S. residents over the age of 5 were considered to have Limited English Proficiency as of 2013. That means that 8% of the United States population is limited in their use of the English language. Language access programs serve the needs of the growing LEP population in the U.S. in all major industries.
New Immigration Trends
Asian populations are rising due to immigration. The largest source of new immigrants to the United States is Asia, overtaking Latin America (including Mexico). Asians are now the only major racial or ethnic group whose numbers are rising mainly because of immigration. New immigration trends make expanding current language services a necessity to serve these populations. Pew Research
How Language Trends Influence American Industries
Understanding current language trends and how they continue to shape our country helps organizations understand the need for providing multicultural consumers with more effective communication through professional language services. A dedicated language services provider like Telelanguage will be able to address the specific language needs of your organization to maximize the effectiveness of your language access programs. The needs of an organization may differ based on location, organizational size, and industry.
Let’s look at major industries and how they benefit from professional language services. We have included additional resources for major industries.
As of 2016, almost 1 in 4 children in the U.S. (more the 12 million) speak a language other than English at home.
Education institutions serving ELL, LEP, refugee, and foreign exchange students require interpretation and translation services to remain Title IV compliant and ensure that every student has the opportunity to progress academically. In addition to communicating with students, in many cases, interpreter services and translation services are also necessary to keep limited-English proficient parents and guardians informed about their child’s academic progress and needs.
Education Industry Resources:
- The Need for Language Interpretation in U.S. Schools (Interactive Infographic)
- Education Translation for Educational Institutions: K-12 and Higher Education
- Free Whitepaper: “Foreign Language Interpretation in Education; Serving Families in K-12 and Higher Education Environments”
Banking and Financial Services
Language services in banking have become a vital part of reaching and retaining multicultural consumers in the competitive industries of banking and financial services. Language services provide banking and financial institutions with a way to reach more multicultural consumers by:
- Having Instant Access to All Vital Forms in Target Languages,
- Enhancing Customer Service, and
- Fostering Trust with Non-English Speaking Customers.
Banking and Financial Services Industry Resources
- Infographic: Quick Guide to Language Services in Banking
- Language Support for Banking and Financial Institutions
- How Banks Can Reach Multicultural Consumers in the Financial Marketplace
Health Care Industry
Patient care inevitably suffers when there is not adequate communication. Studies show that if language barriers between doctors and patients are not conquered, misdiagnosis and inappropriate treatment are far more likely to occur. Studies from Health Services Research have found the use of a qualified medical interpreter to have a positive impact on patient care. “Use of professional interpreters is associated with improved clinical care more than is use of ad hoc interpreters, and professional interpreters appear to raise the quality of clinical care for LEP patients to approach or equal that for patients without language barriers.” In addition to language interpretation, having prepared translation of vital documents in the top non-English languages of healthcare facilities is crucial. Medical documents and patient care instructions can be confusing for a patient, but when the patient does not speak English documents must be provided in the language preferred by the patient.
Professional medical interpretation and translation services have been associated with:
- Higher quality of clinical care
- Improved care
- Higher levels of patient satisfaction
- Fewer communication errors
- A greater comprehension of diagnoses and follow up care instructions
- Lower rates of readmission
Health Care Industry Resources
- Multilingual Patient Care: Language Solutions in Health Care
- Quick Guide: 8 Things You Need From a Healthcare Language Services Partner
- Free eBook: The Healthcare Interpretation Guide: Language Access for a Better Patient Experience
Travel and Tourism Industry
According to the U.S. Travel Association, there were an estimated 75.9 million international arrivals in the U.S. in 2016 (including 37.6 million from overseas markets). The top 10 international markets to the U.S. included:
- Canada 19.3 million
- Mexico 19.0 million
- U.K. 4.6 million
- Japan 3.6 million
- China 3.0 million
- Germany 2.0 million
- South Korea 2.0 million
- Brazil 1.7 million
- France 1.6 million
- Australia 1.3 million
Language services can help travel & tourism related businesses raise their revenue by providing quality information to Limited-English proficient and international travelers. They allow the travel industry to provide services in several different languages. Businesses operating in travel, tourism, and hospitality can attract more multicultural business by translating vital documents and promotional materials in many languages to offer a higher quality of service to potential customers.
Travel and Tourism Industry Resources
- Tourism and Travel Interpreters: Helping Businesses Connect With International Guests
The intricacies of the insurance industry make it imperative to communicate properly at every touch point. State and federal legislation, like the Affordable Care Act, have brought more Limited English Proficient (LEP) clients into the insurance world. While hiring trained staff may not be practical or cost-effective, having on-demand access to insurance interpreters trained in specific terminology is both cost-effective and efficient. Being prepared with document translation in the languages of potential customers also establishes trust, confidence, and loyalty…helping insurance agencies connect with more multicultural consumers in a competitive market.
Insurance Industry Resources
- Insurance Interpreting: Language Service Considerations for Insurance Companies
- New ERISA Translation Requirements (for insurance companies offering plans for employees)
Effective communication is critical in the legal industry, especially when serving culturally and linguistically diverse populations.
United States law firms, corporate legal departments, and organizations of all sizes in the legal industry must ensure effective communication, both written and verbal. Language interpretation and translation services help maintain a positive community image, as well as compliance, security, and regulations.
A comprehensive language access plan should address:
- Assessing client language needs and capacity
- Cultural awareness training for attorneys and staff
- Access to legal certified and trained interpreters (telephonic, on-site, video remote)
- Translation of vital documents, legal information, and client communications
- Compliance for government standards and regulations
- Address privacy, confidentiality, and security
- Continuing to evaluate language access policies and procedures
Legal Industry Resources:
- Legal Language Services: Legal Interpretation and Translation
Government Agencies and Public Services
Ineffective communication can lead to miscommunication errors that strain time and limited resources, and may even result in loss of government funding, fines, and public scrutiny. Improving communication for limited-English proficient populations in government agencies and public services leads to improved public service and helps local, state, and federal agencies build stronger relationships and trust with the communities they serve. Professional language interpretation and translation services are key to addressing compliance, confidentiality, and security of information – which are critical to government agencies.
Government Language Interpretation May Include:
- 9-1-1 Emergency Services
- Courts, Legal, Judicial
- Social Services
- Public Education: K-12 and Higher Education
- EMS Response Teams
- Community Clinics
- Disaster Response and Management
- Emergency Planning
- Code Enforcement
- Public Utilities
- Community Outreach, Planning and Public Notices
Government and Public Services Resources:
- The Impact of Language Interpretation for Government Agencies
- Written Translation Services for US Government Agencies
- Emergency Preparedness: Language Access and Public Safety
- Law Enforcement: A Guide to Language Services
- 911 Interpreters: Language Support for Non-English Speaking Callers
- Social Services Interpreters: Mission Critical for Language Access
Understanding emerging language trends in major American markets helps organizations to better serve the language needs of today’s diverse populations.
When language barriers arise, professional language support is key. More than 61.6 million individuals, foreign and U.S. born, speak a language other than English at home, and 8% of the United States population is limited in their use of the English language. Is your organization able to serve them? Superior language support is seconds away.
How Telelanguage Can Help
Telephonic Interpretation: Connect with over 5,000 professional interpreters in over 300 languages. Telephonic customer service interpreters can improve the support offered to Limited-English speaking customers quickly and effectively at a low per minute rate that’s available when you need it with no long-term contract…24 hours a day, 7 days a week, 365 days a year!
Video Remote Interpretation (VRI): Video Interpreting is a cost-effective on-demand solution that can fill the gap between over-the-phone and on-site interpretation services, making it possible to gain visual support with enhanced accuracy, see facial expressions and confirm the meaning of non-verbal communication and help the conversation for you, your interpreter and your non-English speaking customers.
Translation Services: Written translation can be very valuable for providing non-English speaking customers with your written materials. In order to help you better serve your customers, Telelanguage has the capacity to professionally translate materials from English to over 100 target languages and vice versa. Our translators are subject-matter experts to ensure that you get the most qualified translator for your project.
On-Site Interpretation: Have a meeting be planned in advance at your physical location? Telelanguage provides On-site Interpreters that can be at your location to help you communicate with non-English speaking clients.
Why Organization are Switching to Telelanguage
Telelanguage offers reliable interpreting solutions that are 100 percent government compliant – with 24/7 customer support.
Healthcare Organizations: Medically trained interpreters, HIPAA compliant services, lower cost.
State and Federal Agencies: Confidentiality compliance, greater flexibility, responsive support.
Insurance and Legal Services: Strict confidentiality compliance, interpreters trained in specific terminology.
Public Utility, Police and 911: Quick interpreter connect to all languages, flexible rate plans, and volume discounts.
Call Centers and Help Desks: Lower cost, advanced features, improved services delivery, and skill-based interpreter connect features.
Telelanguage has been helping organizations communicate with limited English proficient and deaf and hard-of-hearing populations since 1991. Telelelanguage connects clients to skilled and certified interpreters – with more languages than any other provider, and the quickest connect times in the industry. Our goal is to help our clients provide the highest quality language support to limited-English speaking customers. To prove ourselves, we offer free trial minutes with no obligation or contract to sign.
Connecting Humanity Through Technology: The Importance of Offering Language Services as an Organization
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