Overcoming Translation Challenges of African Languages

Rich in culture, the African continent is flooded with linguistic diversity. With over 2,000 languages spoken across 54 countries, there are bound to be a few challenges along the way. Things are changing at a rapid pace in the African continent. Previously, companies dealt with colonial languages that were confined to having roots driven from French, Portuguese, English, and Arabic. However, with the African government calling for the constant revival of local tongues – Africa has witnessed a rise of aboriginal languages.

For example:

With the continuous trend of development in African languages, more than ever now there is a high demand for professional translation services.


Challenges of African Language Translation

With due time, African people have grown more aware of the value of their linguistic inheritance. The Bantu people have made tremendous efforts to expand Bantu languages around the ‘Dark Continent’ however; they are still facing multiple challenges. Most of these problems are common factors of when translating any language – such as ambiguity, need for paraphrasing and mismatching. Nevertheless, dealing with underdeveloped resources such as dictionaries, and text corpus leads translators to create their own glossaries and word banks.

The second biggest obstacle faced when translating an aboriginal African language is web-related. Most mother languages are passed down through oral communication therefore, requiring translators to do extensive research for every project. Collaborated with the fact that internet services in several African regions are of low quality and high-cost only delays advancements in spreading linguistic diversity.

Trying to sway companies away from such obstacles is the goal of professional translation services. As they are better equipped and acquire a vast amount of experience in providing businesses with translation and localization tools.

Rise of Translation Services in South Africa

Referred to as the ‘melting-pot’ of Africa, South Africa houses 11 official languages, making it the fourth-highest number in the world. Due to the rapidly excelling local economy of South Africa, it in recent times has garnered the attention of the global market. Leaving multinational businesses try to grab a quick holding share in the country. However, due to the ever-evolving linguistic culture, many companies are at a loss for words, to say the least.

Entering at number three just behind isiZulu and isiXhosa is Afrikaans. A language that is officially categorized as a West Germanic language derives 90-95% of its vocabulary from the Dutch language. With an estimated 7 million, or 13.5% of the South African population speaking the language there comes a huge demand for Afrikaans translation services in South Africa.

Afrikaans has been around since the 18th century having its roots driven from the Dutch Cape Colony, however, it was not until the 20th century that it was recognized as one of the official languages in South Africa. Many coined the term “kitchen language” for Afrikaans as they thought it lacked prestige. In the neighboring country of Namibia, Afrikaans is spoken as a second language and is used as the lingua franca.

Afrikaans has constantly gained popularity due to its use in the public domain. From the first Bible translation in 1933 to the modern use of newspapers, TV, radio programs, etc. Therefore, many businesses often turn to Afrikaans translation services as their go-to starting marker when looking to enter the South African market.


The Future of African Languages

One has to keep an optimistic outlook when talking about African languages as a whole. As many of the African languages are still passed down orally from generation to generation, there seems to be no way of determining the accuracy of a language. More so, only 10 of the 54 countries of Africa enough personal to take the translation services industry forward. This is mainly due to a lack of education around the translation industry and those who are translating often have no real-life experience to mirror in their translations. However, with a booming middle class in nations like South Africa and Kenya one turns their hopes and aspirations to investors from China and Turkey to provide further investments and training for translation services in South Africa.


Why AfroLingo?

At AfroLingo, we believe in one mission: the complete satisfaction of our customers. Located in the epicenter of Johannesburg, South Africa, we provide one of a kind specialized translation services. Keeping in respective with the linguistic diversity of Africa, we cater to languages such as Afrikaans, Swahili, Zulu, Somali, Xhosa and much more. Our translation services in South Africa truly represent the pride, honor, and passion that Africa has to offer to the world.

Some key features that we offer include –

In-House Native Translators – We hire all native-speaking translators that can cater to more than 20 different languages globally and having helped more than 150 clients localize their business in the African subcontinent. Therefore giving our clients a truly personal experience of the native audience, as our translators understand the cultural and political aspects of a certain region.

For assistance on how AfroLingo can further enhance your journey to a global market, and see what makes our translation services stand lightyears ahead of the competition contact our friendly and skilled sales expert today.


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