CIT offers Minangkabau 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 Minangkabau 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 Minangkabau language through means such as lectures, conferences, and travel. CIT’s Minangkabau language interpreters and translators possess in depth knowledge of the Minangkabau language, as well as of the culture and history of the Minangkabau people, allowing them to provide informed and complete interpretation and translation.

The Minangkabau Language

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. Minangkabau means “People of the Plains.”

The Minangkabau are the largest ethnic group on 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. The Minangkabau people are Muslim; however, they are matrilineal. According to Minangkabau tradition, 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 a 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.

In the late 1800s, some of the Minangkabau people moved to Malaya, which is now known as the Peninsular Malaysia. They formed the Negri Sembilan, or the Nine States. Minangkabau tribesmen left Sumatra in order to find more work across the Straut 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.