Minangkabau interpreters and translators

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The Minangkabau language is spoken by about 8.5 million people. The language is spoken in West and North Sumatra, Riau, Jambi, Bengkulu, Indonesia, and Malaysia. It is a Malayic language with several dialects. Because of this, it is extremely important to work with a Minangkabau interpreter or translator who knows the difference.

Minangkabau means “People of the Plains”. The Minangkabau are the largest ethnic group in Sumatra. Historically, their homeland is in the west-central highlands. Minangkabau people have large fields and gardens where they are known for their crops such as rice, tobacco, cinnamon, and many fruits and vegetables. Along with this, they are known for their crafting such as woodcarving, metalwork, and weaving. The Minangkabau language is very similar to other Austronesian languages, particularly Malay.

Minangkabau Traditions

The Minangkabau people are Muslim; however, they are matrilineal. When a man and woman wed, they live at the wife’s parents’ home and the husband is considered a guest who visits his wife at night. This domestic unit was called the rumah gadang, or the community house. It is under the control of the woman of the house, her sisters, daughters, and any female children. The boys would live in the house until they were circumcised, after which they would live in a local mosque. This community house was a rectangular-shaped building. Most of this building was the main room. There were then small living areas for each woman, her children, and her husband.

After World War II, this structure was no longer considered so important and many of the families left in order to establish their own homes. Typically, people within a clan did not marry one another. Understanding the social background of a Minangkabau speaker is one of the main strengths of a CIT interpreter or translator.

In the late 1800s, some of the Minangkabau people moved to Malaya, which is now known as Peninsular Malaysia. They formed the Negri Sembilan or the Nine States. Minangkabau tribesmen left Sumatra in order to find more work across the Strait of Malacca. In the 1850s, due to Malayan tin mining growth, the Minangkabau people grew to become miners or petty merchants. In the early 1900s, the Minangkabau miners began pursuing agricultural jobs in river valleys. The Minangkabau people were able to gain land if they could claim it, clear it, plant it, and live in it.

The Minangkabau language is written using a Latin alphabet but had previously been written in Arabic.

Hire a Minangkabau Interpreter or Translator

Need a Minangkabau interpreter or Minangkabau translator? CIT is here to help! We’ll draw on our network of thousands of certified, mother-tongue linguists to provide you with a Minangkabau interpreter or translator when and where you need them. To learn more, schedule a Minangkabau interpreting assignment, or request a Minangkabau translation, call us at 888-737-9009 or email us at info@calinterpreting.com.


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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