Top Facts About the Afrikaans Language

Known to be a culturally rich continent, Africa is flooding at the linguistic front. There are more than 2,000 languages that are spoken across 54 countries; however, things are changing rapidly in the African continent. Where in the past when companies handled business in Africa they dealt with colonial languages such as French, English or even Arabic are now facing a fast-paced language movement.

Over the past decade, the African government has been calling for a revival of its local tongues. For example, South African officials have made continuous efforts to have Xhosa be taught as a primary language in their schools. Whereas in the Gambia, English has been done away with altogether and replaced with Kiswahili.

These are just two of many examples of the rise in aboriginal languages and with the continuous uprise, there has been an increased demand for professional translation services in Pretoria for localised content to market and translation of legal, medical & technical documents.

The Melting Pot of Africa


South Africa has been making headlines for all the right reasons. The local economy has seen a constant boom, making everyone want their share of success. And it is rightly so. South Africa is referred to as the ‘melting-pot’ of Africa as it is the home of 11 official languages. Leaving outsiders feeling rather a little confused and needing a little guidance from language translators in South Africa.

Of the 11 official languages, the top 3 spots are held by isiZulu, isiXhosa, and Afrikaans respectively. Afrikaans is categorized as a West Germanic language and derives 90-95% of its vocabulary from the Dutch language itself. However, it was not until 1994 after the fall of the Apartheid that it became an official language of South Africa.

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Known as the ‘young language’, Afrikaans became a ‘real language in 1925 although it has been around since the 18th century. Over time, Afrikaans has constantly gained popularity due to its use in the public domain. In 1933, the first book to be translated into Afrikaans was the Bible. Flash forward a few more years and it started being used for modern amenities such as 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.

Obstacles in Translating African Languages

The Bantu people have made their own initiatives to expand Bantu languages around the continent. Moreover, with time the people have begun to appreciate the inheritance of these languages. However, with that being said there are still challenges in effectively passing down these languages so they can be translated and localized globally.

Much like any other language, when looking to translate Afrikaans or any other native language translators deal with insufficient resources leading them to create their own glossaries and word banks. Secondly, most of these languages are passed down through oral communication where it is either just spoken between two people or used to tell folklore stories. Therefore, leaving translators neck-deep in extensive research for even something as simple as a one-page document. Almost adding salt to injury is the fact that most parts of Africa have rather slow or nonexistent internet services, creating further delays on how rapidly you can spread the linguistic diversity.

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However, many translation services providers do not want this to be the reason why you should shy away from conducting business in the region. Therefore, they are trying to become better equipped and acquire more experience with the African mother languages. In doing so they hope to provide businesses with all the translation and localization tools.

Securing the Future of African Languages


When talking in regards to African languages one hopes to keep an open outlook. As discussed, most of these languages are passed from one generation to the next orally. Therefore, there seems to be no set method to determine the accuracy of these languages.

In addition, of the 54 countries, only 10 are sufficiently equipped to take the translation industry forward. But why such a staggering number? It primarily has to do with the lack of education around the industry, and with the fact that those who are translating have no real-life experience to pass on through their translations.

However, hoping to offer changes to these dynamics is the flourishing middle class of South Africa and Kenya. They are relying on investors from China and Turkey to provide future investments for the translation industry.

Why Look for a Translation Firm?

Located in the heart of South Africa, find a team that believes in one mission. The complete satisfaction of the customer. A company who provides all sorts of specialized interpretation services. Catering to the linguistic melting pot of South Africa we have a focus on unique languages that include Afrikaans, Swahili, isiZulu, Somalian, isiXhosa to name a few. More so the translation services in South Africa should be able to reflect African culture with pride and passion.

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Key features you should look for:


  • Our Native Translators – by housing all our translators in-house we cut out all the third-party vendors. Our translators can cater to over 20 languages and have helped more than 150 clients translate and localize their business in the African region. Ensuring all your content is translated with cultural sensitivity.
  • Our Subject-Matter Experts – why let an amateur handle your professional documents? Local professional firms in Africa like AfroLingo Translations, experts from various industries who are always available to offer their hands-on experience and address any special terminology that might be required.
  • A Fast Turn-Around Time – Make sure a company does not constrain you by the size or budget you have for your project. However, always ensure to never skip on quality.
  • A Top-Notch Product – A firm that has developed an invigorating multi-step quality control process. Therefore, clients should never have to ask for a ‘do-over’ and clients always walk to a fail-safe project that they can take pride in.

Africa is a land of mystery and the languages even more so. A language as unique as Afrikaans requires a person with a special skill-set to help translate it for the modern world, and vice-versa. To see how a translation agency can assist you with translation services of a language of 7 million people contact us today and embark on a journey for success.