The Development of South African Languages in 2017

2017 promises to be an exciting year for the development of South African languages.

 The Use of Official Languages Act, 2012 aims to ensure official South African languages (other than English and Afrikaans) are used on a much wider scale – first in government and private sectors and later with initiatives to introduce official South African languages into education, business and daily life from an early school age onwards.

We at Bangula are fortunate to have worked with governmentals, corporates and educational clients over the past two years on a number of projects aimed to assist in developing and promoting our official South African languages.

At an educational level, we have assisted one of our clients with the translation, recording and creation of online school activities for the Vodacom online eSchool, bringing accessible education to South African youth in their home language.

We have assisted a range of government clients in translating information packs, PAIA manuals and various other documents into South African languages. It has been especially heartening that many of these translations have been requested and produced in all the official languages.

We also embarked on an exciting project to translate a free law resource – – into isiZulu, Sesotho and IsiXhosa to make this information more easily available and understandable to all.

As we move forward into 2017, we expect to see a further increase of materials being developed and translated into South African languages, from school level (with educational publishers putting an increased focus on South African languages, often hand in hand with mobile technology) to the top rungs of the corporate ladder and government.

We’re really excited to be working with the CSIR to develop voice recognition software across the 11 official SA languages from January 2017. This exciting and forward-thinking project involves developing and translating terminology and recording terms in studio, which will be used to create speech and voice recognition software across our official languages. The project is set to continue until the end of 2018 and will be a big step in the right direction when it comes to developing South African languages.

Although the Use of Official Languages Act has been slow in getting off the ground in some sectors, we have definitely seen a rise in companies, not only seeking to be compliant, but going above and beyond the legal requirements in their promotion of South African languages. We look forward to seeing this continue in 2017.


Bangula has been running big and small translation projects for our clients successfully for over 10 years. .Among a range of other services, Bangula specializes in helping government departments and corporate clients become compliant with the Official Languages Act.