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Amber Heard is about as talented and passionate as they come, which was on full display this weekend during the Women’s March … where she showed off her ASL.

The actress was one of many celebs who showed up in L.A. Saturday for the fourth annual event — which got started back in 2016 when President Trump was elected. Amber got on stage at one point and gave a heartfelt speech about her role in the fight.

Check it out … while she never outright says his name, it sounds like some of what she’s talking about here might be touching on her marriage to Johnny Depp … which ended in a long, nasty legal battle where allegations of lies and abuse were made.

After talking to the crowd, Amber shared a sweet moment with a fan on the ground … who spoke to her in sign language. Turns out, she’s fluent in ASL — and it definitely shows

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When you think of learning a second language in school, you may think of Spanish, French or even German.
Some students are choosing sign language.

Students and educators at Sioux City’s North Middle School are learning sign language as a way to better communicate with the deaf, and hard of hearing.

The idea came from area interpreters, who noticed a limited amount of people familiar with sign language.

Even though the class meets in students’ off time, the class has been so popular they’ve had to add two additional sessions.

Students in the class say they’re pleased with their new ability to communicate with others.

“I think the biggest benefit for them is obviously the start of a second language for them. And just being able to grow their friendships with deaf and hard of hearing kids in Sioux City,” said Sandy Leach, AEA Educational Interpreter.

The class was funded by a donation from Quota International of Sioux City, which has the goal of raising awareness of deaf and hearing impaired issues in the community.

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Washington state has sworn in its first Native American Supreme Court justice, Raquel Montoya-Lewis, an enrolled member of the Pueblo of Isleta Indian tribe. Judge Montoya-Lewis, 51, is only the second Native American person to serve on any state supreme court.

Montoya-Lewis attended University of New Mexico for undergrad, and University of Washington for law school. She also holds a masters degree in social work. She served on the Washington Superior Court from 2015 to December 2019. Montoya-Lewis has been a professor at Western Washington University, and has served as chief judge for three Washington Native American tribes: the Upper Skagit Indian Tribe, the Nooksack Indian Tribe, and the Lummi Nation.

At the swearing-in ceremony, Montoya-Lewis spoke about her background, including her father, a member of the Pueblo of Laguna Indian tribe, and her Jewish mother. Montoya-Lewis expressed the importance of diverse judges. In discussing the Washington Supreme Court building, she reflected, “The first thought I had was that these hallways, and those steps, were not built with people like me in my mind.”

During the swearing-in, there was an invocation from the president of the Quinault Indian Nation, as well as opening and closing songs from Port Gamble S’Klallam Singers. Rabbi Seth Goldstein, a rabbi based in Olympia, Washington performed a benediction. After her appointment, speaking with press, Montoya-Lewis said, “I was raised to remember that I come from those who survived. My ancestors on both sides of my family survived genocide, survived institutional boarding schools, survived attempts to eradicate their cultures, and yet as my father reminded me often, ‘we survived’. I am here because of their resilience, their courage, their intelligence, and their deep commitment to what is just.”

We thought we would take this historic opportunity to explore the languages spoken by the Pueblo of Isleta and Pueblo of Laguna Indian tribes. The history and complexity of the language families associated with these indigenous peoples is fascinating.

First, we must zoom out a bit. Both the Pueblo of Isleta and Pueblo of Laguna tribes are groups of indigenous people who are native to the southwest, specifically New Mexico, and belong to the Pueblo people, or Puebloans. This is the term that became used to refer to these people by the invading Spanish in the 16th century, named after their adobe constructed buildings, which the Spanish called pueblos.

To this day, 100 Pueblos remain, including Pueblo of Isleta and Pueblo of Laguna. Puebloans speak languages from four different language families, which are mutually unintelligible. In Pueblo of Laguna and six other Pueblos, people use the Keres or Keresan language family, which itself has many mutually unintelligible dialects. In fact, there are such extreme differences between Eastern and Western Keres, they are oftentimes considered wholly separate languages, not dialects. The Laguna speak the Kawaika dialect of Western Keres. There are currently about 1,000 speakers of this language.

In Pueblo of Isleta, Puebloans speak Southern Tiwa, a language belonging to the Kiowa-Tanoan language family. The Kiowa-Tanoan family consists of three sub-branches, Towa, Tewa, and Tiwa. Tiwa is the only Tanoan sub-branch that also has separate languages: Northern and Southern Tiwa. Southern Tiwa is spoken at two other Pueblos in addition to the Pueblo of Isleta, and is closely related to Picurís and Taos, languages spoken at other Pueblos. There are three dialects of Southern Tiwa: Sandía, Isleta, and Ysleta del Sur (Tigua). Isleta is the dialect spoken at Pueblo of Isleta, and is mutually intelligible with Sandía.

In 2015 it was announced that, as a part of the school’s transfer from federal to tribal control, the Tiwa language would be taught to children at Isleta Elementary School in Pueblo of Isleta. For more information about current events reauthorization of funding for Native language programs, check out our last article at

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President Donald Trump announced that he had signed three bills “to support tribal sovereignty and native culture” in a tweet on Dec. 27. 

It is the first time the President, known for using “Pocahontas” as a slur against a political opponent, has tweeted about legislation for Native American communities, according to

The three bills include compensation to the Spokane tribe for the loss of their lands in the mid-1900s, reauthorization of funding for Native language programs and federal recognition of the Little Shell Tribe of Chippewa Indians in Montana. 

For the Spokane, the compensation act comes more than half a century after the Grand Coulee Dam flooded more than 21,000 acres of their land. The bill orders the Bonneville Power Administration, an American federal agency based in the Pacific northwest, to pay the tribe $6 million per year for 10 years and $8 million each year afterwards in compensation for the losses of their land. However, the bill also prevents the Spokane from claiming a share of the hydropower revenues generated by the dam, which they were previously entitled to. 

The Little Shell Tribe, based in Montana, has fought for federal recognition since the late 1800s, when treaty negotiations between the tribe and the federal government failed. 

“This has been a long journey for our people and I am proud that it is finally over. We have worked tirelessly in this fight and the United States has finally reaffirmed our existence. This fight has always been about the dignity, identity, and culture of our people. The Little Shell Tribe and its people have, and will always, persist and thrive,” said Tribal Council Chairman Gerald Gray in a post on the tribe’s Facebook page on Dec. 17. 

Meanwhile, the Esther Martinez Native American Languages Preservation Act, which became law in 2006 but expired in 2012, will be reauthorized, granting $13 million in funds to smaller groups of Native American students each year starting 2020 until 2024. 

“The history of the United States tells us about the deliberate efforts to eliminate Indigenous peoples’ languages and cultures through forced assimilation, boarding school forced attendance, treaties that have not been honored, and promises not kept,” Arizona Rep. Raúl Grijalva, the chairman of the House Committee on Natural Resources, said during debate on the floor of the U.S. House of Representatives.

President Trump’s relationship with the Native American community has been difficult, offending some with his use of the name “Pocahontas,” that of a Native American woman associated with the colonial settlement in Jamestown, as a slur for Democratic presidential candidate and political opponent Elizabeth Warren. But in recent months, the president has acted on several issues that affect the Native American community. On Nov. 26 he created a task force to look into the crisis of missing and murdered women in Native American communities. 

“We remain committed to preserving and protecting Native American cultures, languages, and history, while ensuring prosperity and opportunity for all Native Americans,” the president said in a statement. 

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Nine Years After Guatemalan Man’s Shooting, LAPD Officers Get Help to Identify Indigenous Languages

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The officer at the front desk of the LAPD’s Rampart station couldn’t understand the language the distraught mother and daughter were speaking. So he called over the intercom for help.

As she listened to the mother speak, Officer Lucia McKenzie identified a familiar rhythm.

“I said, ‘K’iche’?’ and she got super happy, a big smile on her face,” McKenzie said.

K’iche’, spoken by Guatemalan Mayas, is one of many indigenous languages common in Los Angeles’ immigrant communities. Later this month, Los Angeles Police Department officers will begin carrying pocket cards that can help them identify an indigenous language and, if necessary, call an interpreter. The city is home to Mexicans who speak languages such as Zapotec, Mixtec and Triqui, as well as Guatemalan Mayas who speak languages like K’iche’ and Q’anjob’al.

“Unfortunately, we always made the assumption that they were all Mexican, they were all Spanish-speaking and we could get the message to them about building trust, about working with us, in Spanish,” said Al Labrada, a South Bureau commander for the LAPD. “We hadn’t taken the time to identify the key leaders in the community that could help us bridge that gap.”

The need for such outreach became acutely clear in the wake of a 2010 police shooting.

On a September afternoon that year near the intersection of 6th Street and Union Avenue in Westlake, LAPD officers encountered Manuel Jaminez Xum, a 37-year old Guatemalan day-laborer, who allegedly was drunk and threatening passersby with a knife. Authorities said that police repeatedly ordered him — in English and Spanish — to drop the weapon, but that Jaminez raised the knife over his head and moved toward one officer, who opened fire. Jaminez died at the scene.

The shooting, which later was declared justified by LAPD’s oversight body, incited violent protests in the heavily immigrant neighborhood. The fact that Jaminez spoke K’iche’ underscored that there are those in L.A.’s Mexican and Central American immigrant communities who may not be fluent in Spanish.

Shortly after, indigenous Mexican community leaders began organizing training for officers in the LAPD — a department whose force is about half Latino.

More than 20% of Mexico’s population considers itself indigenous; in Guatemala, more than 40% of residents have been classified as Maya.

There is no census count on the number of indigenous people living in Los Angeles. The languages they speak can be as different from Spanish as Chinese is from English, and can contain dozens of variants. There are 32 Mayan languages, for example, said Danny Law, a linguist at the University of Texas at Austin who has participated in the cultural awareness training.

“Just being aware of that possibility goes a long way,” Law said. “A police officer might get the impression the person they are talking to is being uncooperative intentionally.”

Officer Lucia McKenzie at the LAPD Rampart station in Westlake. When a K’iche’ speaker arrived at the station about a year ago, McKenzie called Odilia Romero, a Oaxacan community leader who is part of a network of indigenous interpreters.

Back at the Rampart station that day about a year ago, McKenzie called Odilia Romero, a Oaxacan community leader she had worked with to organize the cultural awareness trainings. Romero helps run the Binational Front of Indigenous Organizations, a group that promotes the rights of indigenous people and has a network of interpreters. She connected the upset mother to an interpreter who spoke K’iche’.

Soon after, the station had a gang-involved battery case that detectives could follow up on.

“This person left at peace,” McKenzie said. “Normally their voices aren’t heard — they make the perfect victims.”

Advocates warn of mistakes that can occur when those who speak little Spanish are pressed to communicate with a bilingual officer.

“If the first responders — like the LAPD, the Fire Department — don’t know that there’s language diversity, that there’s this group of people, then a lot of things get lost,” Romero said. “If someone is a victim of domestic violence, of a rape, [the perpetrator] can go free if they don’t have an interpreter.”

During the police training sessions, presenters discussed prejudice toward indigenous people within Latin American culture. Gaspar Rivera-Salgado, a labor studies professor at UCLA, told officers, including many from Mexico, that in 2012 the Oxnard School District banned the racial epithet Oaxaquita, or little Oaxacan.

Romero, who works as a Zapotec interpreter, developed friendships with officers. On a recent Sunday, she texted Adrian Gonzalez, a patrol captain in the LAPD’s Rampart Division, saying she heard that officers had swept through a Guatemalan street market and confiscated vendors’ equipment — a rumor he said was not accurate.

“Any time the community has issues, they’ll go directly to her because there’s trust,” Gonzalez said, “and she’ll reach out to me to debunk something.”

Labrada said officers don’t use indigenous interpreters regularly. In most cases, someone like a family member can help out. But in more complicated situations, officers may contact Romero. They can also request to use the LAPD’s phone interpretation service.

The pocket cards, which already exist for Korean and American Sign Language, should make things easier. Assuming that the indigenous person understands a little Spanish, an officer can ask a person in that language what town they are from and whether they speak one of the nine indigenous languages listed on the card, which also contains contact numbers for Romero’s organization.

The all-volunteer Binational Front of Indigenous Organizations has a network of about 150 indigenous interpreters in the U.S. For Mixe languages, they have to call a contact in Oaxaca.

“There’s a large community of Mixe in L.A., but we haven’t found someone that wants to take it on,” said Janet Martinez, Romero’s daughter, who has helped coordinate training.

Efforts also are underway in other California counties to improve relations between immigrant communities and law enforcement.

A soon-to-be published study by the nonprofit group California Rural Legal Assistance examined how indigenous Mexicans living in Kern County are affected when they do not have access to an interpreter during interactions with police. Many of the 200 indigenous residents surveyed reported communicating with a bilingual officer who spoke varying degrees of Spanish. For some residents this was sufficient, if they too were fluent in Spanish. But others could not effectively communicate with officers.

“A cop will ask questions in Spanish and the person will answer in Spanish, and then the cop won’t recognize they’ll have little Spanish fluency,” said study author Marisa Lundin.

One person surveyed, a Bakersfield resident named Austolia who speaks Mixtec and understands little Spanish, said that several months ago police crossed a fence surrounding her family’s property.

Austolia, who declined to share her full name because she fears repercussions from the police, had been outside watering the grass. She said she tried to ask the officers in her limited Spanish what was happening, but they didn’t respond.

Her daughter-in-law, who speaks English, came outside and was told the police had been searching for a stolen car.

“We were very scared because they didn’t say what they were looking for, and I have my grandchildren here,” Austolia said. “They had guns, they had rifles.”

Sgt. Nathan McCauley, a spokesman for the Bakersfield Police Department, said he had been unaware there was a Mexican indigenous community in the county.

“It sounds like an unfortunate circumstance,” he said of Austolia’s experience, adding that police can’t always stop and speak to residents during an active situation. “We would like to communicate with everyone we come into contact with.”

Police in Oxnard have partnered for years with the Mixteco/Indígena Community Organizing Project, a nonprofit that works with indigenous communities in Ventura and Santa Barbara counties.

Investigative Services Bureau Commander Sharon Giles said that as the relationship has developed, more indigenous residents are reporting crimes.

“We started seeing the volume of

[applications for]

U-visas increasing,” she said, referring to the visa for immigrant victims of crimes.

Back near the LAPD’s Westlake station, Mexican and Central American vendors lined Alvarado Street across from MacArthur Park on a recent afternoon.

Senior lead officer Robert Solorio chatted with various K’iche’ speakers in Spanish. He greeted a woman cooking tortillas at the entrance of the park who said she spoke K’iche’ — and a little Spanish. Before leaving, he pretended to warm his hands on her stove. She laughed.

“You’d be surprised how these little moments make an impact,” he said. “It’s just me, but to them, it’s the LAPD.”

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George A. Sakheim, 96, of Gwynedd, a translator at the Nuremberg Trials who came face to face with some of Nazi Germany’s most notorious war criminals, died Thursday, Dec. 5, of pneumonia at Abington Lansdale Hospital.

In October 1945, Dr. Sakheim had just served two years in the Army in Europe and was stationed in Paris, expecting to go home, when he saw a flier asking for German-speaking interpreters to work at the approaching Nuremberg War Crimes Trials.

“I had a conflict, because I really was anxious to get back to college, but then something in me, even at 22, realized that this was going to be historic, it was going to be exciting and unique,” he told the Jewish Exponent in a 2015 article marking the 70th anniversary of the trials.

Dr. Sakheim volunteered and was immediately flown to Nuremberg. The trials began Nov. 20. For the next seven months, he had the extraordinary chance to see and hear Nazi leaders, including Field Marshal Hermann Goering and Rudolph Hoess, commandant of the Auschwitz-Birkenau Concentration Camp.

Dr. Sakheim did much of his work from an adjoining room, but when in the courtroom, he recorded his impressions in a journal. In one entry, he described Hoess as being “so casual and calm” on the stand, the Exponent reported.

Dr. Sakheim believed that the trials accomplished two goals. One was to hold the perpetrators accountable for atrocities committed against the Jews. “The second,” he was quoted as saying in the Exponent, “had to do with Robert Jackson, the chief U.S. prosecutor for the trials, saying these trials exist so that something like this will never happen again.”

Born in Hamburg, Germany, Dr. Sakheim immigrated to New York at age 15 to live with an aunt. He graduated from DeWitt Clinton High School and had just enrolled at Columbia University when he was drafted into the Army in March 1943.

Because he could speak German, Dr. Sakheim was sent for military intelligence training. He fought in Normandy, northern France, and the Rhineland, according to his military discharge papers.

His division helped with the storming of Normandy on D-Day Plus 7, and he was present at the liberation of concentrations camps at Aachen and Cologne.

He was there on April 11, 1945, when the Allied troops liberated the Nordhausen Concentration Camp, his family said in a statement. He recalled seeing Allied generals shaking their heads and pressing handkerchiefs to their noses to mask the smell of unburied bodies.

Dr. Sakheim’s wartime experience formed the basis for a lifetime of writing and giving testimony about the Holocaust, his family said.

In February 2009, Michel Schaffhauser, then the consul general of France in Washington, awarded Dr. Sakheim and nine other veterans the Legion of Honor medal, France’s highest honor, for their part in liberating France during World War II. The ceremony took place at Foulkeways at Gwynedd, where all 10 recipients lived.

After the war, Dr. Sakheim earned a bachelor’s and a master’s degree, both in psychology, at Columbia University. After an internship at Bellevue Hospital in New York, he earned a Ph.D in clinical psychology at Florida State University in 1954.

In 1948, he had met Ilse Oschinksy, who had fled Germany at age 13 on the Kindertransport to England. They married in 1950.

Dr. Sakheim worked as a psychologist for many years in Maine and then New York. He specialized in treating teenagers and victims of abuse.

“He believed that reaching and supporting young people early in their lives could prevent them from developing psychological problems and could reverse delinquency,” his family said in its statement.

His belief in early intervention led him to create and publish an assessment tool for identifying suicide risk. Later, he created a tool to quantify risk factors for juvenile arsonists. He wrote the 1994 book Firesetting Children.

When not at work, Mr. Sakheim was active in the civil rights and anti-war movements.

In addition to his wife, he is survived by children Ruth and David, and five grandchildren.

Plans for a memorial were pending.

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MONTREUX, Switzerland — International swimming’s favorite villain, Sun Yang , endured a spectacle Friday as the highest court in sports held a rare public hearing for an athlete’s doping case.

The high-stakes battle about the eligibility of Sun, a six-time Olympic medalist and a star in his native China, at the Court of Arbitration for Sport quickly descended into confusion. There were translation issues throughout the day and a pitched confrontation between Sun’s mother and opposing lawyers during cross-examination.

At stake is whether Sun, one of his sport’s dominant figures, will be able to compete in the 2020 Olympics. The World Antidoping Agency brought a complaint against Sun to CAS after swimming’s national governing body declined to penalize him for refusing to cooperate with three antidoping officials who traveled to his home in China to retrieve blood and urine samples from him for testing. Sun, 27, requested the hearing take place in public.

The hearing, held in a lakeside annex of a luxury Swiss hotel, was only the second of its kind to be open to the public since the court was established 35 years ago. It delivered an unusual glimpse into how justice is rendered — or isn’t — in the cloistered and often shadowy world of international sports.

Chinese swimmer Sun Yang explains, at the Court of Arbitration for Sport, the circumstances under which his entourage members smashed the vials containing his blood samples.

Sun’s case, which could lead to a suspension of between two and eight years, is being closely followed by his rivals, many of whom sparred verbally with Sun at July’s world championships in South Korea. Some of Sun’s competitors did little to hide their contempt for him at that meet — one refused to stand on the medals podium with him, and another refused to shake his hand after losing to him — and few argued he should not have been allowed to participate while was facing an open doping case. Sun previously was suspended, in 2014, by Chinese swimming authorities after he tested positive for a banned prescription drug. At the time, Chinese authorities did not disclose the ban to WADA.

The decision on Sun’s future will turn on a fractious three-hour visit by antidoping officials to his home last November that ended when his mother directed a security guard to smash a container containing Sun’s blood with a hammer. Sun’s entourage accused the officials of not having the correct paperwork to carry out their tasks and leave with his sample. He refused to provide a urine sample.

During questioning on Friday, Sun, dressed in a navy suit and polka dot tie, delivered statements that often sounded unrelated to what he was being asked.

“You couldn’t tell if he was being monumentally evasive or if he couldn’t understand the questions,” said Richard Young, an American lawyer making WADA’s closing argument. “It was hard to tell because the translation was so bad.”

Not getting any better. 15 minutes in and Sun Yang’s lawyer is struggling. “I’m sorry for leading but the translation was so bad,” says Ian Meakin QC. “Can you please translate.”

Sun’s legal team had chosen the first translator, but there was confusion from each side on what was being said almost immediately. Halfway through the hearing, both sides agreed to replace the first translator with Ying Cui, a Chinese WADA official who also speaks English.

Lawyers at the hearing said that between 2012 and 2018 Sun had undergone 180 drug tests, of which 117 were out of competition. Of those more than half were carried out by representatives of the company, Sweden-based I.D.T.M., that visited his home the night the vials were smashed.

All of the other tests occurred without incident, the lawyers said, except for one in 2017 when Sun had clashed with a woman on the collection team whom he accused of lacking correct documentation.

Sun later detailed how he and his entourage — which included a personal doctor who has served two doping suspensions of his own — doubted the paperwork and qualifications of the officials conducting the tests. Their frustration only grew after what Sun’s side described as inappropriate behavior by a chaperone, who took several photos and claimed to be a huge fan of the swimmer.

“How are you able to trust them?” Sun said.

Young said Sun’s refusal to cooperate, even if the sample had not been smashed, constituted a violation.

Sun’s mother, Yang Ming, said she became so concerned about what was happening that she had considered calling the police. She repeatedly clashed with another WADA lawyer, Brent Rychener, who pushed her to get to the point of her testimony. At one point, she snapped at Rychener, telling him she had not finished speaking.

Two members of the team that had tried to administer the tests on Sun were allowed to give evidence in private before the hearing. The chaperone accused of filming and taking photos of Sun declined to appear at all, and instead provided only written testimony that was not made public.

The court also heard testimony from Ba Zhen, who has served two doping suspensions for his work with Sun, the first for supplying the swimmer with a banned drug and the second for continuing to coach him while banned. Sun said he sought Ba’s advice on how to handle the three officials seeking samples from him.

“Given you’ve been found guilty of multiple antidoping rule violations, do you think you’re the right person for that?” asked Rychener, the WADA lawyer.

The case has also drawn focus on a general lack of independence in the antidoping process at sports governing bodies. In swimming’s case, FINA, the sport’s governing body, appoints the doping panel that determined Sun had taken a “huge and foolish gamble” with his actions during the failed doping test. But it refused to punish him.

Cornel Marculescu, FINA’s longtime executive director, told Germany’s ZDF television earlier this year that swimming needed to protect its biggest names. “You cannot condemn the stars just because they had a minor accident with doping,” Marculescu said.

Before Sun’s initial hearing at FINA, the organization replaced two officials — an Australian and an American — at the last moment, raising concerns about the process that eventually failed to punish Sun.

Friday’s hearing ended with additional translation confusion when the president of the three-judge panel suddenly spotted a man in a blue shirt to the right of Sun as he gave his closing remarks in Chinese.

“Excuse me, who are you?” asked the president, Franco Frattini. The man identified himself as a translator beckoned over by the swimmer, to make sure his words had been captured accurately. Frattini, visibly angry, told Sun he could not randomly choose people to participate.

“There are some rules,” Frattini said. “It’s not up to you to appear before the court.”

A decision in the case is expected early next year.

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When Jorge Rodriguez was a medical student, he saw a patient on his surgical rotation who only spoke Mandarin. None of the doctors on the team spoke the language — all they knew was the word for pain. To check on the patient, they would push on her abdomen, ask “pain?” in Mandarin, and use her response to guide her care.

“We didn’t actually know if she understood what we were asking,” Rodriguez says.

Now a health technology equity researcher at Brigham and Women’s Hospital in Boston, Rodriguez studies the growing need for interpreters and translators in U.S. health care. Patients who speak limited English are at a higher risk of a bad medical outcome than English-speaking patients because they have more trouble communicating with a medical team. Interpreters are expensive, and as U.S. demographics shift toward fewer English speakers, hospitals sometimes see them as an impractical option. To address these needs, some health care professionals are starting to rely on tech.

Virtual interpreting services already offer a nearly endless range of languages and are available nearly on demand. And according to unpublished data collected by Rodriguez, some physicians now resort to using Google Translate — even though it’s not validated for health care settings.

“Access to phone and video increases the number of patients who are having their conversations in their preferred languages,” Elaine Khoong, a general internist and assistant professor of medicine based at Zuckerberg San Francisco General Hospital, told OneZero. “We certainly don’t have enough in person.” Khoong says technology can help fill gaps in interpreter access, even though what’s available isn’t perfect.

Often, hospitals can’t afford to have a full staff of interpreters. Even though federal guidelines recommend that government-funded health care organizations develop policies to provide for patients with limited English proficiency, there is no additional funding to implement these policies. One analysis found that around a quarter of hospitals with a high need for interpreters did not offer them, and a national study by a health care accreditation body showed that hospitals struggle with interpreter costs. (However, though interpreters do increase the cost of delivering care, when they’re used, the cost of follow-up visits goes down.) Demand for interpreters will likely continue to grow: In 2015, more than 25 million people in the United States reported speaking limited English, and the number of people speaking languages other than English at home continues to rise. Hospitals and health care facilities that don’t typically see patients with limited English proficiency, like those in rural areas, may soon start to treat them.

Unlike in-person interpreters, who can take a long time to arrive at a patient’s bedside, translation technology allows for immediate care. In one Australian hospital struggling with the lag, physicians worked with Dana Bradford, senior research scientist in the eHealth Research Center at Australia’s national science agency, to create a solution.“There were tons of interpreters, but they were always busy,” Bradford says. She developed an iPad app called CALD Assist that comes preloaded with medically relevant phrases — like “Do you have pain?” and “Please swallow” — in 10 languages most commonly used at the hospital so doctors and nurses could talk with patients before interpreters arrive.

However, Bradford says, “it was never designed to replace interpreters.”
Remote interpreters and tech solutions can be less effective than in-person interpreters and aren’t suited to all medical situations. Over the phone, interpreters can’t see patients, which means elements of communication like facial expressions and body language get lost, Khoong says. It’s also harder for patients to feel comfortable and build a rapport with a person behind a video screen who they’ve seen only once. Both interpreters and patients have been shown to prefer in-person interactions to phone or video services, and according to one study, only around 40% of deaf patients were satisfied with video interpreters for sign language.

Even when interpreters or interpreting systems are available, however, many doctors don’t wait to use them, choosing Google Translate instead, Rodriguez says. In an unpublished study, Rodriguez surveyed nearly 180 Massachusetts physicians and found that roughly a third of them use Google Translate in their clinical practice, even though the Massachusetts Board of Registration in Medicine issued an advisory in 2016 cautioning that machine translation programs can be incorrect and that professional translators should be used to ensure accuracy for any written materials. (For example, Google translated “Your child is fitting” from English to Swahili as “Your child is dead.”) Rodriguez has also heard of physicians using the voice feature on Google Translate to interpret conversations in “low-risk” situations, justifying it as the best they could do. “Just like how in hospitals now we take out our phones and use them for flashlights, we similarly look for solutions like that,” he says.

Khoong, who says she had “informally” used Google Translate in her medical practice for written materials, ran a study testing the accuracy of Google Translate for written medical instructions and found that it could accurately translate 92% of sentences in Spanish and 81% in Chinese. However, she says, a small percentage of the incorrect translations were inaccurate in a way that could harm the patient.

As a result of her study, Khoong now takes more care with Google Translate, using it only for written materials in Cantonese, which she speaks. She makes it a point to write on the materials that they were translated by machine, and she translates only short, simple phrases, which the study showed the service is better at.

Bridging the language gap in hospitals using technology without introducing the potential to misunderstand a patient requires focused attention. For now, physicians are on their own when it comes to deciding the most appropriate translation or interpretation method to use in a given situation, and there is little consensus. “Most people would probably say that if there’s some sort of change in diagnosis, you should use a person, or if they’re consenting to a procedure, or starting a new medication,” Rodriguez says, noting that most physicians would probably also agree that end-of-life conversations or decisions should be done in person. “But we don’t have official guidelines.”

Interpreting technologies aren’t perfect yet, but they already play a key role in U.S. health care and will continue to do so. They’re particularly important in health care facilities that haven’t ordinarily treated non-English speakers. “Those are places where machine translation could play a bigger role,” Rodriguez says, and it’s important to have accurate tools for those doctors to use.

They’re also important for rural or underserved areas that might only see a handful of patients who need interpreters or translators, Khoong says. “It wouldn’t make sense to put the huge investment in in-person interpreters. That’s where having phone, video, or machine learning tools are going to be helpful,” she says. “Ultimately, at the end of the day what you’re hoping for is that increased communication results in better health outcomes.”

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This photo was shot with a Canon EOS 5D Mark III. ISO 100

Cantonese Statistics/Facts:

Cantonese is a variant of the Yue language branch, a primary branch of the Chinese language. Cantonese is therefore a variety of Chinese. The name ‘Cantonese’ is often used to describe the entire language branch, including some mutually unintelligible varieties of Yue, such as Taishanese. This is due to Cantonese being considered the prestige (the most common and correct variety of a language or dialect) variant of the Yue language branch.

In mainland China, specifically in the province of Guangdong, as well as some neighboring areas, Cantonese is a lingua franca, or common language. It is the majority language of Hong Kong and other regions, including the Pearl River Delta. Cantonese is one of the major varieties of Chinese spoken by overseas Chinese in Southeast Asia, and is the predominant variety spoken in the Western World, including the United States, Canada, and Europe. Today, there are an estimated 80 million Cantonese speakers in the world.


Cantonese Dialects:

It is often disputed whether Cantonese is a language or a dialect. In fact, in 2014, Hong Kong’s Bureau of education deleted an article from their website claiming “Cantonese is not an official language” after it garnered much criticism from Hong Kong locals. While some people say that Cantonese is a dialect of Chinese, others insist that it is its own language. Who is right- and how do dialects differ from languages anyway? To quote from The Economist:

“Two kinds of criteria distinguish languages from dialects. The first are social and political: in this view, ‘languages’ are typically prestigious, official and written, whereas ‘dialects’ are mostly spoken, unofficial and looked down upon. […] Linguists have a different criterion: if two related kinds of speech are so close that speakers can have a conversation and understand each other, they are dialects of a single language. If comprehension is difficult to impossible, they are distinct languages.”

So, by linguistic or academic criterion, Cantonese is not a dialect of Chinese. Rather it is a language, as are Shanghaiese, Mandarin, and other kinds of Chinese, which are not mutually comprehensible. Applying a social or political criterion, Cantonese is a dialect of Chinese.

Countries/Territories where Cantonese is spoken


Hong Kong



Cantonese Speaking Country Data:

Country: China

Capital: Beijing
Population: 1.357 billion
Current Government headed by: President Xi Jinping
Currency: Renminbi (CNY)
GDP: 11 trillion
Unemployment: 4%
Government Type: Communist Party of China
Industries: Mining, iron and steel, aluminum, coal, machinery, armaments, textiles and apparel, petroleum, cement, chemical fertilizers, food processing, automobiles and other transportation equipment including rail cars and locomotives, ships, and aircraft, consumer products.


Cantonese History & Development

Cantonese was developed from Middle Chinese (formerly known as Ancient Chinese). The word Cantonese is derived from the word Canton, the former English name of Guangzhou, capital of Guangdong. This is the birthplace of Cantonese. Guangzhou was once considered the home of the most perfect form of Cantonese, however, through decades of media and pop culture evolution, Hong Kong is now recognized as the cultural epicenter of the Cantonese language.

Although Mandarin is the standard and official language of mainland China, it has only existed for about 700 or 800 years, while Cantonese history dates back roughly 2000 years. Cantonese is mostly an oral language, and is full of slang and non-standard usage.


Interesting Facts about Cantonese:

  • Spoken and written Cantonese differ, with written Cantonese being very similar to Standard Chinese and Mandarin.
  • Cantonese is generally thought to have six different tones, which are used to differentiate words.
  • Most schools in Hong Kong teach Cantonese instead of Mandarin
  • It can actually be considered culturally inappropriate to speak Mandarin to Hong Kong residents while in Hong Kong. According to the Basic law of Hong Kong, Cantonese is the official language, and should be treated as such.

About our Spanish Translation Services

Barcelona - Park Guell, Spain

Barcelona – Park Guell, Spain

Spanish Language Statistics/Facts:

The Spanish language has 400 million native speakers around the world, making it the second most spoken language, following Chinese. Spanish is wide spread in both North and South America, as well as in many parts of Europe, and has had a long road to becoming the current dominant language it is today. The extensive dispersion of the language was due in part to exploration, conquest, and also to forcible conversion, making Spanish today a worldwide vernacular, as well as one of the UN’s official languages.

Spanish Dialects:

Dialect Region
Peninsular Spanish

(includes Castillian, Andalusian, Murcian, Catalan, Basque, Galician, Exremaduran)

Canarian Canary Islands
Llanito Gibralter
Spanish of the Americas

(includes Latin American Spanish, Rioplatense Spanish, Carribean Spanish)

Equatoguinean Spanish Africa


Countries with Most Spanish speakers:







Spanish Speaking Country Data:


Country: Spain

Capital: Madrid
Population: 46.77 million
Kingdom of Spain: Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy
Currency: Euro
GDP (ppp): $1.19 Trillion
Unemployment: 22.7%
Government Type: Constitutional Monarchy
Industries: Machine tools, metals and metal products, chemicals, pharmaceuticals, ship building and automobiles, tourism, textiles.


Country: Mexico

Capital: Mexico City
Population: 122.3 Million
Constitutional Republic: President Enrique Pena Nieto
GDP (ppp): $1.14 Trillion
Unemployment: 4.05%
Government Type: Constitutional Republic
Industries: Automobiles, electronics, mining, textiles, clothing, motor vehicles, tourism, chemicals, iron, steel, food and beverages.


Country: Argentina

Capital: Buenos Aires
Population: 43 million
Kingdom of Spain: Mauricio Macri
Currency: Argentine Peso (ARS)
GDP (ppp): $583 Billion
Unemployment: 8.5%
Government Type: Constitutional Republic
Industries: Beverages, food processing, motor vehicles and auto parts, electronics, chemicals, pharmaceuticals, publishing, furniture leather, glass, and cement.


Spanish History

The history of the Spanish language and the origin of the dialects of Spain begin with the linguistic progression of Vulgar Latin. Castilian & Andalusian dialects developed in the Iberian peninsula  (Hispania) during the middle ages. The emergence of modern Spanish more or less coincided with the re-conquest of Moorish Spain, which was completed by Isabella of Castile, and Ferdinand of Aragón.

Spanish is a member of the Indo-European family of languages. This group of languages originated in the Black Sea region around 5,000 years ago. The wide spread of the Spanish language can be largely attributed to Christopher Columbus, who visited America and facilitated its spread to the natives that he found there.


Interesting Spanish Facts:

  • Spanish is part of the Indo-European family of languages, which are spoken by more than a third of the world’s population. Other Indo-European languages include English, French, German, the Scandinavian languages, the Slavic languages, and many of the languages of India. Spanish can be classified further as a Romance language, a group that includes French, Portuguese, Italian, Catalan and Romanian.
  • To the people who speak it, Spanish is sometimes called español and sometimes castellano (the Spanish equivalent of “Castilian”). The labels used vary regionally and sometimes according to political viewpoint.
  • Spanish is one of the world’s most phonetic languages. If you know how a word is spelled, you can almost always know how it is pronounced (although the reverse isn’t necessarily true). The main exception is recent words of foreign origin, which usually retain their original spelling.

About our Somali Translation Services

"Dadaab, Somalia - August 15, 2011: Unidentified children live in the Dadaab refugee camp where thousands of Somalis wait for help because of hunger on August 15, 2011 in Dadaab, Somalia"

“Dadaab, Somalia – August 15, 2011: Unidentified children live in the Dadaab refugee camp where thousands of Somalis wait for help because of hunger on August 15, 2011 in Dadaab, Somalia”

Somali Language Statistics/Facts:

Somali is a member of the Cushtic branch of the Afro-Asiatic language family, specifically Lowland East Cushtic. The Cushtic branch is made up of about 40 different languages, which are mainly spoken in the Horn of Africa, Sudan, Egypt, Tanzania, and Kenya.

Of these approximately 40 languages, Somali is the best documented, with academic studies dating back as far as the 19th century.

There are approximately 16-17 million Somali speakers in the world, with about 8-10 million living in Somalia. Somali is also spoken by the majority of the population in the country of Dijbouti, a part of which is encompassed in Greater Somalia, along with the Ogaden region in Ethiopia, and the North Eastern Province in Kenya.

The language is divided into three dialects: Maay, Northern, and Benaadir. The Northern dialect (also known as Northern-Central) is considered Standard Somali. The Northern dialect has historically been used by renowned Somali poets, as well as the political elite, and is often noted as the most prestigious dialect. Benaadir, also known as Coastal Somali, is primarily spoken on the Indian Ocean seaboard, and is mutually intelligible with the Northern dialect. Maay is primarily spoken by clans in the southern regions of Somalia, and its use extends from the southwestern border with Ethiopia to an area close to the coastal strip between Mogadishu and Kismayo. Maay is not mutually comprehensible with Northern Somali or Benaadir, and differs in sentence structure and phonology. It is also not generally used in education or media. However, Maay speakers also use Standard Somali, which is often learned via mass communications and urbanization.


Somali Dialects:

Dialect Region
Maay Southern Somalia


Northern Somalia


Benaadir Coast


Countries where Somali is spoken:

Federal Republic of Somalia




Somali Speaking Country Data:

Country: Somalia
Capital: Mogadishu
Population: 10,251,000
Federal Parliamentary Republic: President Hassan Sheikh Mohamud
Currency: Somali Shilling
GDP (ppp): $5.896 b
Unemployment: 70%
Government Type: Federal Republic
Industries: Mining, sugar refineries, livestock, and telecommunications.

Country: Djibouti
Capital: Djibouti
Population: 906,000
Parliamentary Republic: President Ismail Omar Guelleh
Currency: Djiboutian Franc (DJF)
GDP (ppp): $2.377 b
Unemployment: 59%%
Government Type: Constitutional Republic
Industries: Banking, insurance, transportation, tourism, and agricultural production.


Somali History

The Somali have an intriguing history. The land they occupy today belonged to the Aksum Ethiopian Kingdom from the second to seventh centuries AD. The Somali are said to have migrated from present day Yemen to the land sometime around the 9th century AD. Somalia was later colonized by the British, which led to the widespread use of English in the country.

Somali has been the official language of the Somali Republic since 1972. It was standardized under the rule of Siad Barre. Somali remained the dominant language in the war stricken country, even after the collapse of the central government in early 1990s.

The Somali country and people have had a long period of tribal differences and civil war. In 2012, however, the first permanent central government was established, the Federal Government of Somalia. The war still continues.

Interesting Somali Facts:

  • Somali is spoken by the majority of people in Somalia (>85%)
  • The Somali were colonized by both France and Britain before attaining independence in 1960.
  • The majority of Somalis are Sunni Muslims

About our Slovak Translation Service

Image of Bratislava, the capital city of Slovakia during sunset.

Image of Bratislava, the capital city of Slovakia during sunset.

Slovak Language Statistics/Facts:

Slovak, an Indo-European language, is the official language of Slovakia. It is spoken by over 5 million people in Slovakia, and over 7 million people worldwide. Slovak speakers constitute more than 84% of the total Slovakian population, with other languages in Slovakia including Hungarian, Roman and Ukrainian.

The Slovak language is closely related to Czech, and generally the languages are considered to be mutually intelligible. (Read on for more information on the intricate and expansive history of the Czech and Slovak languages!)

Slovak Dialects:

Dialect Region
Northern Slovak Northern Slovakia
Central Slovak Central Slovakia
Western Slovak Western Slovakia
Lowland Slovak Outside of Slovakia; Serbia, Hungary, Romania, Croatia


Country where Slovak is spoken:

Predominantly Slovakia Republic

Slovak Speaking Country Data:

Country: Slovakia
Capital: Bratislava
Population: 5,400,000
Constitutional Parliamentary Republic: President Ivan Gasparovic
Currency: Euro (EUR)
GDP (ppp): $132.4billion
Unemployment: 12.8%
Government Type: Parliamentary Republic
Industries: Food and beverage, heavy and light machinery, metal products, electrical apparatus, rubber products, vehicles, and ceramics.


Slovak History

The Slovak language arose from the language of the Slovene people, the Slavic dwellers of present-day Hungary, Slovenia, and Slavonia, then referred to as Great Moravia. The language first arose in the early 10th century, after Great Moravia was destroyed in c. 907. During this time, the language existed as several Slovak dialects.

By the 10th century, the Slovak dialects had already been grouped into the three modern-day groups (Western, Central, and Eastern Slovak). The very beginnings of the Slovak language can be traced back to the 6th and 7th century, but in general, Slavic linguists agree that it was in the 10th century that the Slavic languages, including Slovak, had become distinct enough to be referred to as totally separate languages.

With the installation of Czechoslovakia in 1918, Slovak finally became an officially recognized language for the first time in history, along with the Czech language. Later, in 1920, the Czechoslovak language (in which Czech and Slovak were seen as two official dialects of one language) was established as an official language. During this time, Slovak became strongly influenced by the Czech language.

Czechoslovakia split into Slovakia and the Czech Republic in 1993, and with this split, the Slovak language became the official language of Slovakia.


Interesting Slovak Facts:

  • Slovakia has the most castles and chateaux per capita in the world
  • Slovakia has the only capital in the world that borders two countries. The capital, Bravislava, borders both Austria and Hungary.
  • Since the dissolution of Czechoslovakia in 1993, the Czech and Slovak languages have remained close, culturally. Whether the Slovak language will continue to develop, separating itself from the Czech language even further as time goes on, linguists are divided. Continued observation of the languages will be the only way to know, providing us a rare glimpse into a rising language’s evolution.

About our Sioux Translation Service

SAN BERNARDINO, CALIFORNIA, USA, OCTOBER 13, 2012. The San Manuel Band of Indians hold their annual Pow Wow in San Bernardino on October 13, 2012. Dances include the Grass, Chicken and Fancy dances.

SAN BERNARDINO, CALIFORNIA, USA, OCTOBER 13, 2012. The San Manuel Band of Indians hold their annual Pow Wow in San Bernardino on October 13, 2012. Dances include the Grass, Chicken and Fancy dances.

Sioux Language Statistics/Facts:
Sioux is a language spoken by natives of North America. It is also a term that is used to refer to the natives of the great Sioux Nation. The group is comprised of three major dialects: the Santee, the Lakota, and the Yankton-Yanktonai. Today, the Lakota is the main dialect.

Before the 17th century the Sioux lived in Minnesota, around Lake Superior. However, due to conflict with other natives, they were eventually displaced to the plains. There they adopted a nomadic lifestyle, in which their main activity was buffalo hunting. The Santee generally live in Dakota, Minnesota, and Northern Iowa. The Yankton and Yanktonai generally live in the Minnesota River area. The Lakota people generally live in the great plains of North America. The total number of Sioux speakers is roughly 160,000.

Sioux Dialects:
Dialect, Region
Lakota, Northern Nebraska, Southern Minnesota, North and South Dakota, Canada, and also Northeastern Montana.
Yankton-Yanktonai, Western Dakota
Santee, Eastern Dakota
Sisseton, Eastern Dakota
Wahpeton, Eastern Dakota
Wahpekute, Eastern Dakota

Countries where Sioux is spoken:
United States

Sioux Speaking Country Data:

Country: United States
Capital: Washington
Population: 317,643,000
Currency: US Dollar (USD)
GDP (ppp): $15.68 Trillion
Unemployment: 6.6%
Government Type: Constitutional Republic
Industries: Mining, Construction, Manufacturing, Federal, Agriculture, Health, Telecommunications equipment, wood pulp and paper products, motor vehicles, pharmaceutical products, iron and steel.

Country: Canada
Capital: Ottawa
Population: 33 679 000
Constitutional Parliamentary Republic: Prime Minister Justin Trudeau
Currency: Dollar (CAD)
GDP (ppp): $1.821 Trillion
Unemployment: 7.0%
Government Type: Constitutional Monarchy
Industries: Food products, chemicals, natural gas and petroleum products, telecommunications, minerals, transportation equipment, drugs, wood and paper.

Sioux History:
The Sioux lived in the great plains of Minnesota, Wisconsin, and North and South Dakota. They were also known to occupy Nebraska, Montana, and Illinois in smaller numbers. The word ‘Sioux’, as it came to be used to refer to the language, originated from the word “Nadowessi’ which means two little serpents. The translation of Sioux is serpent. Though the Sioux resisted the American colonialism in the battle of 1862, due to economic hardships most of the Sioux later surrendered and paved the way for colonialism. This was after the agreement that was signed in 1888, which led to the splitting of the great Sioux nation into smaller reservations. The Sioux land that remains today is about half of the original owned land.

Interesting Sioux Facts:
• The Sioux were the largest Indian tribe, and were also referred to as the Dakota or Lakota Sioux.
• The role of men in the family was to hunt for food (mainly buffalos), as the women took charge of the home.
• They were the original natives of North and South Dakota, Minnesota, and Wisconsin.
• They lived in earth lodges, hogans, and pit houses. They also lived in tepees, or tent-like houses used mainly by the tribes in the plains.
• Many famous Sioux leaders are still remembered to this day, including Sitting Bull, Crazy Horse, and Red Cloud.
• The Sioux only cut their hair when they were mourning.

About our Sinhalese Translation Service

Anuradhapura ruin, historical capital city.

Anuradhapura ruin, historical capital city.

Sinhalese Language Statistics/Facts:
Sinhalese is the language spoken by the largest ethnic group in Sri Lanka. Sinhalese speakers constitute a population of about 16 million, with a total of almost three million more people who speak the language as their second language. It is one of the official and national languages used in Sri Lanka. As a result of years of colonial rule, contemporary Sinhalese contains many European loanwords, with influences from Portuguese, Dutch, and English.

Country where Sinhalese is spoken:
Sri Lanka

Sinhalese Speaking Country Data:
Country: Sri Lanka
Capital: Colombo
Population: 20,270,000
Democratic Socialist Republic: President Mahinda Rajapaksa
Currency: Sri Lankan Rupee (LKR)
GDP (ppp): $116.3 billion
Unemployment: 4.2%
Government Type: Constitutional Monarchy
Industries: Rubber and tea processing, coconut, tobacco, minerals, and telecommunication.

Sinhalese History
Sinhalese immigrants reached Sri Lanka from Northern India around the 6th century BCE. Before their immigration the Sinhalese civilization relied on irrigation to practice intensive agriculture. This civilization prospered extensively from 200 BCE up to around 1250 BCE. They practiced trade with China and South East Asia for many years. The Sinhalese people were then driven south in 1212 BCE by Tamil invaders from the Chola Kingdom in Southern India. This drove them to their current location in Sri Lanka.

Around 1515 BCE Portuguese traders tried to control the sea lanes in South Asia which included Sri Lanka. This influence led to the coming of missionaries and the conversion of a number of the Sinhalese speakers to Catholicism. The Dutch expelled the Portuguese from Sri Lanka around 1658. Around 1815 the British, who were at the time controlling mainland India, took control of Sri Lanka up to 1931. The Island became totally independent in 1948.

The country, however, erupted into civil war in 1971 as the Tamil and the Sinhalese people rose against each other. In 2009, the government defeated the last of the Tamil Tiger insurgents and peace prevailed.

Interesting Sinhalese Facts:

• There are about 2.5 million Sinhalese speakers who live out of Sri Lanka.
• The language has its own writing system. It is used in writing official documents, including currency.
• Sinhalese is among the official languages in Sri Lanka, together with Tamil and English.
• The majority of Sinhalese speakers are Buddhist. Mahinda, the son of Ashoka from the Mauryan Empire introduced Buddhism to the Sinhalese people around 250 BCE. Even after the conversion of most mainland Indians to Hinduism, the Sinhalese remain Buddhists.

About our isiNdebele Translation Service

isiNdebele Language Statistics/Facts:
The Northern Ndebele language, also known as isiNdebele or Sindebele, is a language belonging to the Bantu speaking language group of Nguni, found in the Matebele people of Zimbabwe, South Africa. It is also used by peoples in the Republic of South Africa. The Ndebele people are related to the Zulu and share the same origin. The language is spoken by over 1,090,000 people in the region.

Countries where iSiNdebele is spoken:
South Africa

isiNdebele Speaking Country Data:
Country: Zimbabwe
Capital: Harare
Population: 12,754,000
Constitutional Parliamentary Republic: President Robert Mugabe
Currency: Uses multiple currencies since 2009.
GDP (ppp): $8.865 Miliion
Unemployment: 10.71%
Government Type: Constitutional Republic
Industries: Agriculture, mining industries in gold, household industries.

Country: South Africa
Capital: Pretoria
Population: 52,960,000
Constitutional Parliamentary Republic: President Jacob Zuma
Currency: Rand (ZAR)
GDP (ppp): $408.237 billion
Unemployment: 23.8%
Government Type: Constitutional Republic
Industries: Mining, telecommunications equipment, wood pulp and paper products, motor vehicles, pharmaceutical products, iron and steel, electrical items.

iSiNdebele History
The Ndebele people were originally born by the Nguni people of KwaZulu-Natal. The Ndebele people have been long known for their artistic nature, portrayed by the elaborately painted homes they built. The AmaNdebele of Zimbabwe and the Amanzunza of South Africa are closely related, and are alleged to have come from the same origin. They have much in common, including their cultures and religious beliefs.

The Ndebele people are said to have settled in the Pretoria region around 1600 AD. Their King, Musi, soon died, and this led to bloodshed, as both of the King’s sons desired the throne. The sons’, Manala and Ndzundza decided to live apart, with Manala occupying the Pretoria region, and his brother occupying further east. In the 1820’s a Zulu general called Mzilikazi fled from the King of Shaka, with his army. They overpowered Manala and decided to settle down with them in their region. After some time Mzilikazi started fearing that Shaka may want revenge, and so he lured the Ndebele people to move further north, until they settled at Bulawayo, in the modern day city of Zimbabwe.

Interesting iSiNdebeleFacts:
• The SiNdebele are famous for an interest in art. This is seen in the paintings they decorate their homes with, and paintings on rocks in areas where they lived.
• The SiNdebele speakers of Zimbabwe were originally living in South Africa before Mzilikazi decided to run away from Shaka and moved them north to Bulawayo in Zimbabwe.
• SiNdembele are in fact Bantu speakers, close to the Bantus in East Africa.

About our Serbian Translation Service

PLOVDIV, BULGARIA - AUGUST 06, 2015 - 21-st international folklore festival in Plovdiv, Bulgaria. The folklore group from Serbia dressed in traditional clothing is preforming Serbian national dances.

PLOVDIV, BULGARIA – AUGUST 06, 2015 – 21-st international folklore festival in Plovdiv, Bulgaria. The folklore group from Serbia dressed in traditional clothing is preforming Serbian national dances.

Serbian Language Statistics/Facts:
Serbian is a standardized version of the Serbo-Croatian language. It is mainly used by Serbs from Bosnia and Herzegovina, Serbia, and also in Montenegro. Serbian is also used by minor groups in Croatia, Romania, Macedonia, Hungary, Slovakia, Greece, Czech, and Albania Republic. It is the official language in Serbia and Montenegro, and also in Bosnia. The actual number of Serbs is not well established, but is estimated to be around twenty million. The majority of Serbian speakers are found in the Western Balkans, which consists of the areas east of Bulgaria and east of Serbia.

Serbian Dialects:
Dialect, Region
Kajkavian, Slovania and Norwestern Croatia
Cakavian, Northern Croatia and the Indiatric Coast
Stokavian, Serbia, Croatia, Bosnia and Montenegro
Smederevo-Vrsac, Croatia and Serbia

Countries where Serbian is spoken:
Bosnia and Herzegovina

Serbian Speaking Country Data:
Country: Croatia
Capital: Zagreb
Population: 4,300,000
Constitutional Parliamentary Republic: President Ivo Josipovic
Currency: Croatian Kuna (HRK)
GDP (ppp): $79.69 billion
Unemployment: 18.6%
Government Type: Constitutional Republic
Industries: Chemicals and plastics, machine tools, fabricated metals, electronics, iron, aluminum, paper, wood, construction materials, textiles, ship building, petroleum and petroleum refinery, food and beverages, tourism.

Country: Bosnia and Herzegovina
Capital: Sarajevo
Population: 3,876,000
Constitutional Parliamentary Republic: President ZeljkoKomsic
Currency: Marka (BAM)
GDP (ppp): $18.5 billion
Unemployment: 44.5%
Government Type: Federal Republic
Industries: Steel, coal, iron ore, lead, zinc, manganese, bauxite, vehicles, tobacco products, wooden furniture, tank and aircraft assembly, domestic appliance, and oil refining.

Country: Serbia
Capital: Belgrade
Population: 7,200,000
Constitutional Parliamentary Republic: President Tornislav Nikolic
Currency: Serbian Dinar (RSD)
GDP (ppp): $80.467 billion
Unemployment: 23.7%
Government Type: Parliamentary Republic
Industries: Motor vehicles, oil refinery, base metals, furniture, food processing, machinery, chemicals, sugar, tires, clothes, and pharmaceuticals.

Country: Macedonia
Capital: Skopje
Population: 2,058,000
Constitutional Parliamentary Republic: President GjorgeIvanov
Currency: Macedonian dinar (MKD)
GDP (ppp): $22.147 billion
Unemployment: 31.3%
Government Type: Parliamentary Republic
Industries: Food processing, beverages, textiles, chemicals, iron, steel, cement, energy, and pharmaceuticals.

Country: Montenegro
Capital: Podgorica
Population: 621,000
Constitutional Parliamentary Republic: Prime Minister Milo Dukanovic
Currency: Euro (EUR)
GDP (ppp): $7.461 billion
Unemployment: 19.1%
Government Type: Constitutional Monarchy
Industries: Steel making, aluminum, agricultural processing, consumer goods, and tourism.

Country: Romania
Capital: Bucharest
Population: 21,330,000
Constitutional Parliamentary Republic: President Traian Basescu
Currency: Leu (Leu or RON)
GDP (ppp): $169.4 billion
Unemployment: 7.5%
Government Type: Constitutional Republic
Industries: Automobile, cement and construction, aircraft, textiles, and arms industry.

Serbian History & Development
The history of this dialect traces back to the middle stone age, where there is alleged interaction between different communities which yielded the Serbian language. It’s wide use in Croatia, Serbia, Montenegro, Macedonia, Albania, Czech Republic, Bosnia, and Herzegovina shows it’s growth and dispersion, which led it to be used in the formerly larger Yugoslavian republic.

One of the most widely trusted theories of their origin claims that the Serbs originated in Turkey at a place called Boiki, which neighbors current day Croatia. It claims that the ruler of the land died, and since both sons wanted to take the leadership of the land they ended up splitting and moving towards the current location where the Serbs are found.
The first Balkan war of 1912 is the one that liberated the Serbs from foreign rule. After this war the kingdom of Yugoslavia was created. Belgrade was made the new capital and almost all the Serbs lived in this region. However, during the World War II, Axis powers occupied Yugoslavia, dismembering it. After the war the Socialist Federal Republic of Yugoslavia was formed.
The communist Yugoslavia collapsed in the early 1990s and this led to the birth of new states from the previous united one. During this time there was serious civil war which claimed many lives.

Interesting Serbian Facts:
• Almost all Serbian names end with “ic”
• Serbian is the national language spoken in Serbia and Bosnia. It is also used by minorities in neighboring countries.
• The word ‘vampire’ is the most widely used Serbian word across the world.
• Serbian has been ranked among the most difficult languages to understand, together with Greek and Chinese.

About our Sami Translation Service

Sami Language Statistics/Facts:
Sami is a group of languages used mainly by people in northern Europe, including northwestern Russia, Sweden, Finland and Norway. Contrary to the belief that Sami is a single language, it is in fact a group of languages, though closely related. Sami languages are divided into two groups, the Western and the Eastern. These dialects are not mutually intelligible. The number of ethnic Sami is around 100,000.

Sami Dialects:
Dialect, Region
Sami Lule, Spoekn along the Lule river, and in Norway and Sweden
Sami North, Spoken in Sweden
Sami Pite, Spoken along the Pite river
Sami South, Spoken in Lapland, and in Sweden and Norway
Sami Ume, Spoken along the Ume river

Countries where Sami is spoken:

Sami Speaking Country Data:
Country: Sweden
Capital: Stockholm
Population: 9,600,000
Constitutional Parliamentary Republic: Prime Minister Fredrick Reinfeldt
Currency: Swedish Krona (SEK, kr)
GDP (ppp): $385.1 b
Unemployment: 8.0%
Government Type: Constitutional Monarchy
Industries: Telecommunications equipment, wood pulp and paper products, motor vehicles, pharmaceutical products, iron and steel.

Country: Norway
Capital: Oslo
Population: 5,077,000
Constitutional Parliamentary Republic: Prime Minister Erna Solberg
Currency: Norwegian Kroner (NOK, kr)
GDP (ppp): $498.8 b
Unemployment: 3.2%
Government Type: Constitutional Monarchy
Industries: Petroleum and natural gas, wood pulp and paper industries, ship building, food processing, metals, chemicals, timber, mining, textile and fishing.

Country: Finland

Capital: Helsinki
Population: 5,454,000
Constitutional Parliamentary Republic: President Sauli Niinisto
Currency: Euro (€)
GDP (ppp): $247.2 b
Unemployment: 8.4%
Government Type: Constitutional Republic
Industries: Metals and metal products, electronics, machinery and scientific instruments, ship building, pulp and paper, foodstuffs, chemicals, textile and clothing.

Country: Russia
Capital: Moscow
Population: 138,082,000
Constitutional Parliamentary Republic: President Vladmir Putin
Currency: Russian Rubble (RUR)
GDP (ppp): $2.380 Trillion
Unemployment: 6.6%
Government Type: Constitutional Republic
Industries: Mining and extractive producing of coal, oil, gas, chemical and metals, all forms of machine manufacturing, defense industries, ship building, rail and road transport equipment, agricultural machinery, electric power generating and transmitting equipment, medical and scientific equipment, consumer durables, textiles, foodstuffs, and handicrafts.

Sami History & Development

Though the genetic origin of the Sami people is complex, they have been linked to have originated from the Finns. Sami history dates back to the Viking age, where the Sami are said to have settled mainly along the rivers in the regions where they are found today. The strong distinctiveness between the two languages is associated with the time that has elapsed since the two diverged. It is said to have occurred around 23,000 BC and then reunited around 8,500 AD. After they diverged, the laws of heredity took place and each adapted and evolved in its own way.

Today, research on the language is constantly being done, and with every day new evidence and theories are being erected, often negating the ones previously put in place. At Cal Interpreting & Translations, we ensure that our interpreters are up to date on current language nuances, and have significant background knowledge of the language and culture.

Interesting Sami Facts

• The Sami religion is strongly related to nature.
• The Sami are the descendants of a onetime nomadic community that inhabited northern Scandinavia.
• Reindeer herding has been the basis of the Sami economy until in recent years.
• Writing came into Sami artistic expressions in the early 20th century.

About our Makassar Translation Service

Makassar schooners (pinisi) in Paotere harbor, the old port of Makassar,  Indonesia

Makassar schooners (pinisi) in Paotere harbor, the old port of Makassar, Indonesia

Makassar Language Statistics/Facts:

Makassar is the official language of the Makassarese residing in Indonesia, particularly in the geographically demarcated area called the South Sulawesi Island. It is also known as Taena, Tena, or Goa. This language in particular comes under the Austronesian language heading, having a close relation with the Buginese. The language is written in a unique script which is known as Lontara, a Brahmic script having, again, a close connection with the Bugis and Mandar languages. Throughout Indonesia there are about seven hundred languages spoken today, each depicted by the diversification of cultures within the country of Indonesia.

Makassar Dialects:
There are three fundamental dialects within the language of Makassar: Gowa, Turatea and Maros-Pangkep. The Gowa dialect is considered to be the most prestigious dialect spoken.

Countries where Makassar is spoken:
Makassar is used as a form of writing and communication by the ethnic community of Makassar. It is spoken only in the South Sulawesi Island in Indonesia.

Makassar Speaking Country Data:
Country: Indonesia
Capital: Jakarta
Population: 246.9 million approx.
Current Government headed by: Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono
Currency: Rupiah (Rp)
GDP: $ 846.832 bn.
Unemployment: 6%
Government Type: Presidential system
Industries: Non-oil & Gas, Agriculture, livestock, forestry and fishing

Makassar History & Development:

The Makassar language has been developed in a very complicated way. In Indonesia there are about 80 languages developed and actively spoken. Written history of the Makassar language is only present in the South Sulawesi region, where the language predominantly exists. The language was developed in around the 1400’s, and the writings used until the 17th century. Makassarese literature has undergone a great level of scrutiny. These writings are a reflection of a very strong and rich cultural heritage. Being a derivative of the Brahmi, Indian script, the language falls into the category of a derivation, yet it still is unique in written and spoken form. Changes are made by adding dots or lines in the written form. Initially, the inherent use of this form of writing was in the writing of genealogy or descendent trees.
As far as the genres or versions of the literature of this history are concerned, they can be categorized into two main forms that exist to date. These forms are metric and non-metric. Metric texts are inclusive of solely long poems whereas non-metric texts include myths, diaries, speeches of wisdom, etc. The longest literary works that exist today are those of the South-Sulawesi region, in which Makassar is the dominant language. The major publications of the Makassar language used today are the Makassar-Indonesian dictionary and a descriptive form of writing called Tatabahasa Makassar.

Interesting Facts about the Makassar Language:
• The language is said to have been learned via a descendant from heaven
• The language exists only co-related with the Buginese language and in the Latin script
• The existence of the language is threatened, as it is not actively spoken except in rural settlements where English is not common

Multilingual Transcription Explained

Multilingual TranscriptionWe provide multilingual transcription, which is the transfer of oral language to written form. Cal Interpreting & Translations can take your multilingual recordings on DVDs, audio tapes, video tapes, mini-cassettes, and electronic files and convert them into written format. Our translators can then take that multilingual text and translate it into English so that you can work conveniently and efficiently.