Polyglots and the United States Census

I’ve mentioned this in some of the Zoom chat rooms. I am the manager for the U.S. Census in North Dakota. Every 10 years the U.S. Constitution requires a complete count of every person living in the United States. To accomplish this in all communities the U.S. Census Bureau publishes information in multiple languages. This year they made information available in 59 languages. Many of them were languages we discussed at the conference this year.

One thing that can help polyglots learning a new language is having the same text published in multiple languages. All 59 languages are listed at the address below along with downloadable brochures created for the Census. The Census is over for this decade and I don’t know how long the documents will remain so I decided to share with this group. I’d also love to chat with anyone about the challenges of hiring multilingual employees in a decidedly monolingual state.

https://www.census.gov/programs-surveys/decennial-census/2020-census/planning-management/language-resources/language-guides.html https://www.census.gov/programs-surveys/decennial-census/2020-census/planning-management/language-resources/language-guides.html


Thanks Chris! It’s nice to have access to such a set of of small parallel text like this - I like to use it for practice with getting used to different scripts, sentence structure, etc., or language sampling. :slight_smile:

Hope all is well,


Hi Chris,

Thank you for sharing. I’m looking at these and I know that it was helpful to the constituents.
Did you manage multilingual employees differently than employees who speak only one language? Did polyglots take a different role in the process? I heard that the census was very rushed this year.

There wasn’t anything different management style. The biggest issue was the people that spoke a language we needed lived a few hours away from the person that we needed them to interpret for. It happened a lot with our ASL staff.