Any business interpreter who encounters these languages knows they’re dealing with a rarity. Let’s have a curious look at some awfully rare languages a corporate interpreter or translator may come across – or even use at work.
1. Basque: One of the Rarest Business Interpreter Languages
Spoken natively by a mere 750,000 people, Basque is the language of none other than the Basque Country. It’s worth noting that the Basque Country isn’t actually a country, but a region that mostly encompasses northern Spain and a small part of southwestern France.
Incredibly, no one knows the origin of the Basque language – so forget about etymology. Furthermore, with the cultural changes and political upheavals that took place in the region over time, Basque isn’t a language you would call “uniform”.
In the Spanish zone, there are two Basque dialects: Biscayan and Gipuzkoan. In the French zone, there’s another two: Navarrese-Lapurdian and Souletin.
In the interest of greater linguistic unity, the Royal Academy of the Basque Language created, in the 1960s, Euskara Batua, or Standard Basque. Today, it is the most widely used form in the Basque country, even though it draws mostly on the Gipuzkoan dialect.
The Hawaiian language, along with English, is the official language of Hawai’i, with about 25,000 native speakers, out of 1.4 million residents. The only U.S. state located in Oceania, Hawaiian is a Polynesian language.
Massive historic supplantation for English resulted in the Hawaiian’s near-disappearance on six of the seven inhabited Hawaiian Islands. It was eventually declared an endangered language by UNESCO and continues to hold that status to this day.
The origins of Hawaiian lie in the languages of ancient maritime southeast Asian civilizations, dating all the way back to the prehistoric Lapita navigators. This explains why Hawaiian has high mutual intelligibility with other languages, like Marquesan, Tahitian, Samoan, and Tongan.
After becoming a U.S. state in 1959, Hawaii began to develop a tourism economy, hosting millions of tourists every year. In an attempt to conserve and cultivate Hawaiian language and culture, the Hawai’i State Constitutional Convention was founded in 1978.
Guarani, a South American aboriginal tongue, is an official language in Paraguay, Bolivia, and the Corrientes province in Argentina, native to these countries and also to Brazil. With 6.5 million native speakers, it is the largest language on our list.
The primary variety is Paraguayan Guarani. In Paraguay, the majority of the population speaks Guarani. In fact, it is estimated that half of the rural Paraguayan demographic speaks it exclusively.
What makes Guarani special is that it is the only native American language that hasn’t given way to the European languages of the South American colonizers. It did, however, like the other languages in this list, see intense institutionalized repression throughout its history.
It wasn’t until the creation of Paraguay’s 1992 constitution that Guarani was formally recognized as a language equal to Spanish. However, to this day, Spanish is preferred for more formal situations, while Guarani is left for everyday life and creative spaces, including a rich literature.
Languages Are a Bridge to the World For the Business Interpreter
Learning a new language for fun or for the purpose of becoming a business interpreter or translator means creating a new possible connection between groups and organizations. Come learn about exciting opportunities at Language Connections, where you can either find corporate translation services, conference interpreting services, or learn about how to become a company interpreter.
About Language Connections:
Language Connections is one of the top language service companies in the US. Over the last 30 years, we’ve focused on providing the best business translation services, interpreting services, localization services, as well as interpreter training and customized language training programs. In addition to top-tier corporate language training, we offer certified corporate interpreters and professional business translation services in 200+ languages. Our network includes linguists with backgrounds in all major industries. They’re ready to meet your needs, whether they’re for technical translation services, legal translation, government translation services, international development translation services, education translation services, life sciences translation, or something else. Reach out to us today for a free quote on our cost-efficient and timely translation services, interpreters, or other linguistic services.
Language Connections Inc.
2001 Beacon Street, Suite 105,
Boston, MA 02135