ASUNCION – Paraguay and Mexico have signed an agreement enabling the South American country to learn from Mexico’s experience in the training of translators and interpreters of indigenous languages.
Under the agreement, Mexico’s Instituto Nacional de Lenguas Indigenas, or INALI, pledged to fully support Paraguay in promoting its linguistic diversity.
Ladislaa Alcaraz, Paraguayan secretary for Language Policies, and Fabricio Gaxiola, general director for coordination at INALI, signed the document.
The program will help Paraguay overcome a shortage of interpreters of Guarani and other indigenous languages, Alcaraz told EFE, adding that the lack of trained translators makes it difficult for speakers of indigenous tongues to exercise their rights in interactions with public institutions.
Mexico “has advanced a lot in the cataloguing and geographical location” of its 364 indigenous dialects,” which are considered as national languages along with Spanish and sign language, Gaxiola said.
He said that Mexico is “very interested” in the process of “officializing” a language of indigenous origin.
In Paraguay, most of whose roughly 7 million people are of mixed European and indigenous ancestry, Guarani enjoys parity with Spanish as an official language.
Official estimates indicate nearly 90 percent of Paraguay’s population is bilingual in Spanish and Guarani.