Ilocano interpreters and translators

CIT offers Ilocano interpreters and translators with legal, medical and specialty experience, including criminal and civil matters, employee meetings, engineering, patent cases, labor disputes, immigration and more.

Although based in Los Angeles, CIT offers comprehensive Ilocano language services including interpretation, translation and transcription, 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, worldwide. Our interpreters and translators are native speakers who have been screened, certified, have provided credentials, field tested, and kept up to date with developments in both English and the Ilocano language through means such as lectures, conferences, and travel. CIT’s Ilocano language interpreters and translators possess in depth knowledge of the Ilocano language, as well as of the culture and history of the Ilocano people, allowing them to provide informed and complete interpretation and translation.

The Ilocano Language

The Ilocano language is part of the Malayo-Polynesian languages of the Austronesian languages. It is also known as Iloko, Iluko, Illoco and Illoko. The Ilocano people called themselves the Samtoy, which means “our language here” It is one of the largest spoken languages in the Philippines, third to Tagalog and English. It’s name means “people of the bay.”

About 7 million people worldwide speak Ilocano. The language is spoken primarily in Luzon, La Union, Iloconos, Cagayan Valley, Babuyan, Mindoro and Mindanao. Over 2 million people speak Ilocano as a second language. In northern Phillipines, more people speak Ilocano than Tagalog. However, it does not possess official status. The Ilocanos emigrated by the masses to North America, specifically Hawaii, Alaska, the Pacific Northwest and California.

There are only a couple of dialects of Ilocano: northern and southern. However, the differences are very minute. The Ilocano language appears to have a very simple sound system. Syllables tend to begin with a consonant and usually end with a vowel. Norther Ilocano has 5 vowels whereas the southern dialect has another 6th vowel. There are twenty consonants and may be doubled. Some consonants appear only in loanwords, such as the letter f. The stress of a word can be on any syllable. Grammar in Ilocano is similar to other Malayo-Polynesian languages like Tagalog and Cebuano. 

The nouns in Ilocano follow the structure of other Ergative-Absolutive languages, which means that the subject of an intransitive verb an a direct object are marked by an absolutive case instead of transitive verbs that are marked by ergative cases. Some nouns, which are usually Spanish loanwords, are marked for gender. Nouns can be either personal or common. In Ilocano, personal pronouns are in 1st, 2nd or 3rd person and a number can be plural or singular. Ilocano is a verb-initial language. As for the Ilocano vocabulary, there are many loanwords from Spanish and English along with Min Nan Chinese, Malay, Sanskrit, Arabic, Tamil, Persian and Austronesian.

Ilocano writings were first recorded, or can at least be traced by, to the early 1600s. The first recorded document in Ilocano was the Doctrina Cristiana in 1621. Some of the documents included poems, riddles, stories, music, literature and proverbs. Currently, there is a lot of Ilocano literature along with newspapers written in the language. Spanish writers in the 1500s noticed that writing in the Philippines only occurred in Manila. Later on, the idea of writing spread throughout the country and alphabets began to take form. The letters that were used to write Tagalog in were written in Baybayin. The Baybayin alphabet is used essentially for decorative purposes.


The Filipino people converted to Catholicism by colonial Spanish settlers. Culturally, the Filipinos have many traditions regarding marriage, relationships, food and clothing. They are allowed to choose their own marriage partner but seek approval from both sets of parents. The parents of the groom pay a dowry and will pay for the wedding as well. He will then announce his intentions to marry the daughter to her parents. The parents will consult with the aplanetario, which is an almanac that indicates days with good luck to select a date to wed. The bride is given many gifts and accessories and the mother of the bride is given a reward for having raised the bride. Because of the prominent religion on the Phillippines, most weddings take place in a church. At the reception, the bride and groom engage in an entertaining ritual of offering each other mung beans, which symbolize fertility. Another ritual has guests giving money to the newlyweds. Rice cake offerings are made in memory of the spirit of family members who are deceased.

Another tradition for the Ilocano people is that in announcing a death. A piece of wood is placed in front of the home of the deceased, which burns until after the burial. It is then put out with rice wine. The body is kept in the home and is dressed with the nicest of clothing. The coffin has money in it to pay the “ferryman” who is believed to lead the soul of the departed to the other world. Family members and friends tell stories of good deeds about the deceased.

A standard Ilocano family has 6-7 people in it. The father is typically the head of the household and the mother disciplines the family and is in charge of the finances. The most common profession for the Ilocano people is farming.


Single Documents Accepted
No Minimum Project Size
No Extra Fee For Certified
24 Hour Follow-Up M-F
24 hour


Single Documents Accepted
No Minimum Project Size
No Extra Fee For Certified
24 Hour Follow-Up M-F
24 hour
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