The unfortunate incident where a tourist guide gave a fraudulent interpretation from English to Kiswahili of what a white tourist was saying before journalists in one of Africa’s sought after tourist destinations; The Serengeti National Park caused quite a stir in 2017.
The above was able to be pointed out however there are sadly so many other cases when it comes to interpreting situations from foreign languages to African languages and vice versa. This happens especially when people or businesses in need of effective communication in terms of African Languages Interpreting Services turn to whoever is available instead of seeking professional help.
This harms the service providers in question like it did to Tanzania’s tourism industry at that time. Potential tourists were a little skeptical as to what aids they would be assigned with in case they visited the Serengeti. This goes for any other kind of business where in case of any miscommunication, buyers or users of a service or product become skeptical and may unfortunately opt for the competitor’s product. understand.
Nelson Mandela’s would be 100th birthday was recently celebrated, taking us back to his funeral in 2013 when people watching a live broadcast in South Africa noticed that the interpreter was merely making meaningless hand gestures and not communicating anything at all.
Another example here is facebook; a social media platform used by 16 million Nigerians every month, 12 million people in South Africa and 4.5 million in Kenya. It offers a translation slot under a post but the results are hilarious when the initial post is in an African language like Luganda and is translated into English. It seems funny in the beginning but kind of discourages users from clicking the translate icon again.
It is advisable that a professional translation companies are approached for any kind of translation work; this could be translation, transcription, subtitling or interpreting when it comes to African Languages Interpreting Services.
It is in such companies that one finds experiences and qualified interpreters especially those specific to the client’s language of interest. Since there are over 1500 languages in Africa, it is paramount that the interpreter has the desired language as their mother tongue. This is important because interpreting is successful when done within context and observing the mannerisms and characteristics of a language spoken by people from a certain region. For example; the Afrikaans in South Africa differs a little from that of Namibia and Swahili in Tanzania defers from that spoken in Kenya, Rwanda, Uganda or the Democratic Republic of Congo.
By Angela Kyolaba
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