Lost in Translation?

In South Africa, our cultural diversity is one of our greatest assets.

We are a fascinating mish-mash of people with an amazing and diverse set of languages to match. As our democracy evolves and we embrace our diversity these languages have come to the forefront of both business and education.

Schoolbooks are regularly translated into a variety of our 11 official languages with English, Afrikaans, isiZulu, isiXhosa and Sesotho translations being most common.

Plans are underway at the University of KwaZulu-Natal to make speaking Zulu a requirement for all qualifications, according to an article on the daily news here

Translating a variety of languages with different expressions and inflections comes with a unique set of problems and challenges.

A lack of standardisation in our black languages can make accurate translation tricky. Without standard terminology, translators substitute the terms and expressions of their preference. This can result in anything from mild misunderstandings to hilarious mistranslations… unless you happen to be the unfortunate client in question!

Literal translations are all too common. We explored a few hilarious examples of this phenomenon in our blog – Translating the Rainbow Nation.

A lack of terminology in some of our languages makes technical translation problematic. Finding qualified translators can be a challenge, with many ‘experts’ relying on a lack of client knowledge to get away with quick Google translate jobs.

At Bangula we are passionate about furthering the development of language diversity in South Africa. We have assisted in the writing, translation and editing of school and college material in a variety of South African languages. We have also assisted in the editing and rich media development of South African material in ePub and e-reader format.

To achieve accuracy and consistency in translations we create keyword lists and glossaries for our translation jobs. This, combined with the skills of a highly educated and professional team, ensures that we maintain a level of translation expertise necessary to support our continued expansion of language and cultural diversity.

Contact us now to discuss your translation needs with Han.