Africa is 30.37 million km sq making it 14 times larger than Greenland with over 1.2 billion inhabitants who are rich in diversity when it comes to traditions, clothes, culture, food, colour and definitely one we cannot overlook; languages especially when talking of African Translation services and no, Africa is not a country!
The continent is proven to have between 1500 to 2000 languages spread over the continent with some limited to certain geographical areas, people, cities or countries while others are so common and are therefore shared in almost every country.
Languages are specifically diverse in Africa with so many having unique traits unlike any other languages in the world. Examples here include Xhosa, a language in South Africa which is characterized by intricate clicking sounds, and also happens to be the language to famous Standup comedian and current host of the Today Show in the US; Trevor Noah. Then there is also the … found in a village in Nigeria, West Africa where the two sexes; male and female have their own language! It is said that in this village, there is mutual communication where by the sexes both understand what the other says even though they both speak different languages.
Speaking of lingual diversity on the African continent, there are languages known for a particular region in Africa like mentioned earlier. This is vital for anyone looking to introduce a business, service of venture in Africa so to know what languages to translate to, from or what languages to package the product information into.
It should be noted that Africa has been and is still gradually leaving civil wars, poverty, poor infrastructure, hunger and diseases behind causing it to be of interest to entrepreneurs and businesses from developed foreign countries like the US, China, Japan, Germany, Sweden to mention a few boosting the continent’s economies and thus improving the lives of people getting employed, improved infrastructure and taxes for the local governments collected from such investors.
However, such investors like mentioned above require to make themselves known to the local markets through advertisement and marketing which are communicated using several means, language being inevitable.
English is so common and is spoken in every country on the African continent at least by a few people even in those countries where it is not as common as in others. This language is majorly used in East Africa, West Africa and the Southern part of the continent in countries like Uganda, Kenya, Nigeria, South Africa, Namibia, Zimbabwe, Mozambique, Rwanda, and Malawi to mention a few. English was introduced to Africa through foreign explores and later missionaries in the 1880’s. So as the British colonialists established the conquered territories, they constructed schools and churches where the locals were taught English. Therefore the language is still the official language of several African states and is spoken by so many people as their second language.
Arabic is widely spoken North Africa in the African Arab states where Islam as a language synonymous with Arabic is the most followed religion. These countries include; Morocco, Algeria, Libya and Tunisia although the language is very present in West Africa in the Muslim populations.
French also is an important language to consider when translation services are to be done especially in West African states like parts of Cameroon, Equatorial Guinea, North Africa in Algeria and in Central and East Africa in Burundi, the Democratic Republic of Congo and Rwanda.
It is advisable for an entity interested in African translation services to look for a professional service provider for purpose of effective communication.
By Kyolaba Angela
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