The Importance of Translation in an African Business Environment

The African continent is full of diversity, with approximately 2000 – 3000 languages and an estimated 8000 dialects spoken across the 55 (internationally recognized) countries.  Most Africans can be considered to be multilingual (having the ability to speak several languages) or at least bilingual (being able to speak two languages fluently).

So when it comes to business, it is a mixed bag, in the sense that there are language barriers depending on language combinations but there are also means of conveying  information, such as quality African language translation.

Although English is the language of commerce in most of Africa, other languages such as Portuguese in Angola and Guinea-Bissau and French in the Ivory Coast and Niger are prominent languages of commerce (see link) and some translation will be required when international relations are involved.

When it comes to translation it is crucial to get experienced translators, either trained or native speakers of a language, since it is not just an act of translating words or a message but a culture. Translations need to be adapted from one language, culture and region to another. Furthermore different dialects within a language need to be taken into consideration. Translating the intended message with the correct tone and etiquette becomes especially important with sensitive documentation and initial meetings with prospective clients or business partners. As they say, first impressions last.

This type of precise and formulated translation can open many doors by reaching a wider audience and communicating with that audience in a language that they can understand and relate to. This makes business relations more comfortable and constructive while building important relationships across borders.

Entrepreneurs and business owners across the African continent are starting to realise that quality translation eliminates the struggle of language barriers by providing access into any country or market, no matter the linguistic, cultural or regional diversity.


Bangula has been running big and small translation projects for our clients successfully for over 10 years. We’ve built up an excellent database of tried and tested freelancers over the years. This experience has enabled us to develop an outsourcing model that truly benefits our clients.
Contact us now to find out more.