What better way to tag at one’s heart strings than with their own native African languages? We see the international scene raving over Africa like it just started existing yester year and therefore, service providers, NGOs, entrepreneurs, brands and investors are shoving to get a piece of this Africa.
We have seen China in September 2018 attracting the attention of African countries one by one, like a hungry lioness stalking its prey. Yes, several African heads of state were in China in September at a summit to further seal the relationship between China and her new African friends. it is actually only 5 African heads of state who did not come in person although they were represented and these included: John Pombe Magufuli, Pierre Nkurunziza and Joseph Kibenga Kabila of Tanzania, Burundi and the Democratic Republic of Congo respectively.
It should be noted that China used promises of financing Africa’s imports and inviting African countries to take part trading expos happening in China with allegedly no fees for the poorest countries.
This still not favouring Africa that much, there is a catch because China’s increased interest in the continent attracted the attention of other big powers like the US thus garnering fairly good deals for the former. For example, despite Donald Trump, the US head of state allegedly referring to the African counters as shithole, flotus is in Africa specifically in Ghana, Malawi, Egypt and Kenya to promote health and education as reported by the BBC.
So like it is said above, what better way than through language which is the form of human structured communication sometimes being similar over certain regions or being as different as the East is from the West. As it should be noted that Africa boasts of over 1500 indigenous languages with some countries having 50 and above with others having 3 or less.
For a service provider to fully penetrate into the African market, they need to consider native African Languages in some cases for purposes of effective communication. This language issue is important because even when it comes to market research and surveys, the results are better trusted if the activities are carried out in languages the people understand best.
Yes, Africa has international formal languages like English, French, and Portuguese to mention a few but like earlier said for purposes of effective communication the indigenous ones are at an advantage.
It should be noted that however fluent Africans are in the international languages, there is a certain level of limitation to expression if not done in a native or first language as not all are fortunate to have exquisite forms of education.
Professional Translation Companies specializing in Native African languages are a big help and excellent ones have sprung up after recognizing the need in the market. This is because brands are realizing that their competition using Native African Languages in Africa are at a greater advantage as Africa embraces her diversity today.
Still one should be careful so as to have excellent translation results and what to look for in a translation company should include;
By Angela Kyolaba
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