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One of the first places on the American continent to be colonised by European settlers, Peru also served as the centre of the Inca civilisation, a vast empire that stretched from modern-day Chile to Ecuador. The nation has struggled since independence to forge a collective national identity in the face of political upheaval and a diverse population, but the last two decades have seen prodigious improvements and in the 21stcentury Peru is a modern, forward-looking society determined to maintain record growth patterns.
Situated between the Andes mountain range and the Amazon rainforest, the country boasts some of the most unique, diverse geosystems on the planet, with thousands of species of animal and plant native only to the region. As well as foodstuffs such as quinoa, now exported across the globe as a health food, this diversity is important to the medical and biochemical industries, who regularly find within Peru natural materials that serve as natural medicines and remedies.
The extraction of raw materials still serves a key role in the nation’s economy. Notable industries include fishing, where Peru provides around 10 per cent of the world’s total stocks, and gold, reserves of which make the country the top producer of the precious material in Latin America. A boom during the 2000s, however, has enabled wide investment in manufacturing, especially in areas such as textiles and the food industry.
Tourism is also a key area for the Peruvian economy. Sites such as Machu Picchu, a stunning Inca city 2,500m above sea level, attract millions of visitors per year, as does the natural beauty of the Peruvian Amazon – although this volume of visits brings its own problems in terms of sustainability and environmental preservation. The industry is growing at a whopping 25% per year, the biggest increase in any sector of the economy.
Although Spanish is the most widely-spoken language and the official idiom for all government activity, it is far from the only tongue heard in Peru. Large populations remain in more rural areas who use the indigenous Quechua or Aymara as their first language, while in the Amazonian regions there are an estimated 150 different idioms still alive in the present day.
Amongst these communities, the structure and some vocabulary from these languages seeps into use even while speaking Spanish, a trend that is less common amongst the middle and upper-classes who speak a dialect much closer to the Latin American standard. The best way to ensure you capture the essence of Peruvian Spanish and achieve the best translation possible, as we do in Latin Link, is by using native speakers from the country who have grown up with the local quirks and customs, and who can best get your message across to a wider audience.
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