Bolivia is a landlocked country in South America that shares its borders with Brazil, Paraguay, Argentina, Chile, and Peru. It has a population of 11 million. Santa Cruz de la Sierra is the biggest city in the country. Sucre is the constitutional capital, whereas La Paz is the legislative and executive capital. Bolivia is a multiethnic and multilinguistic country. The Andean region of the country was a part of the Inca Empire before the Spanish colonized Bolivia. After getting independence from Spain, the people of Bolivia continued to promote their own culture and languages. The country has a high ranking on the Human Development Index. It is rich in various minerals, including silver and copper.
Languages in Bolivia:
Spanish is the language with the highest number of native speakers in Bolivia. But several dozen indigenous languages are also spoken in the country. A few immigrant languages, like Plautdietsch, are also spoken in Bolivia. However, according to the country’s constitution, Spanish and 36 indigenous languages are the official languages of Bolivia. Some of the languages mentioned in the body have already gone extinct.
The languages of indigenous people were mentioned in the constitution so they could be protected and preserved. There are many native speakers of these languages in Bolivia. All over Latin America, various native languages went extinct after the region’s colonization. The popularity of Spanish did not help the case of the regional vernaculars. But Bolivia is one of the few countries in the area where a significant percentage still speaks multiple indigenous languages of people. As a result, the country has recognized these vocabularies in the constitution.
Although there is no nationwide bilingual education system in Bolivia, various schools follow a bilingual curriculum to help students from different backgrounds. The efforts of such educational institutions have kept various languages alive in the country. During President Evo Morales’s tenure, the education ministry opened various centers where indigenous tongues were taught.
75% of the population of Bolivia speaks Spanish either as their mother tongue or their second language. It has been the most popular language in Bolivia since the Spanish colonization. It also enjoys official status in the country. Various Spanish dialects are spoken in the country. Out of all of them, Andean Spanish is spoken by the majority. But Camba Spanish and Chapaco Spanish are also spoken by a significant percentage of the population. Regional and foreign languages like Guarani, Portuguese, and Arabic have influenced every dialect from Andian to Valluno Spanish.
The Quechua language also enjoys official status in Bolivia. With more than 2 million speakers, it is the most famous indigenous language in the country. The Quechua people primarily speak it. It has nearly 10 million speakers in the world. Several Quechua languages are also spoken in Peru. It was the primary language family during the Inca Empire, contributing to its popularity. The Spaniards also promoted its use.
The second most popular indigenous language in Bolivia is Aymara. It is primarily spoken by the Aymara people who live in the Andes region. Nearly 17% of Bolivians talk to Aymara. The language is also spoken in Peru, which enjoys official status. It is also a recognized minority language in Chile. Aymara shares a lot of features with Quechua. Many linguists believe the two are related, but that claim has not been proven. The similarities between the two languages can be attributed to the fact that they frequently come in contact with each other. They have not only been influenced by each other but also by Spanish.
The third most widespread native language in Bolivia is Guarani, native to South America. It enjoys official status in Paraguay, where it is the first language of most of the population. It is also spoken in some areas of Brazil and Argentina. It has approximately five million native speakers in the world. The Bolivian constitution protects it. According to some linguists, it is one of the most elegant languages in the world.
Translation of Bolivian Languages:
When it comes to Spanish, people think that it is the same all over the world. But in truth, there are multiple varieties of Spanish in every country where it is spoken. So, you cannot turn to a Spaniard to translate Bolivian Spanish. You will need the services of a native expert if you want accurate results. The same can be said if you need the translation of other Bolivian languages. However, finding an indigenous translator on your own won’t be easy.
There are multiple ethnic groups in Bolivia, and they all speak their languages. You must find the right expert to get a hundred percent accurate translation. So, instead of finding a native expert, you should contact an agency that only hires qualified professionals. They will be able to connect you with a translator who can provide you with accurate translations of an indigenous vernacular. A company with great reviews, reasonable rates, quick turnaround time, and native language experts on its team will be able to deliver quality translations to you every time. So, research before hiring someone to translate any of the 37 Bolivian languages.