More than 16% of the world’s population is categorized as being native speakers of a Sub-Saharan African language. This figure is expected to increase by more than 50% by the year 2050, so it is no wonder that companies like Google are continuously adding more languages options to their most popular services, including Gmail and YouTube, with a huge bump up in support for the African ones in late 2013.
These numbers make it glaringly obvious why African language translation is in such high demand. Professionals offering language services are at the foreground of providing these types of services to fulfill the needs of communication with these growing populations in Africa.
Anyone involved with language services should not hesitate to take these numbers into account when assessing their service offerings. Improving African language translation services can maximize international reach, which is a benefit not only in the corporate realm, but in the world of humanitarian aid as well.
The Common Sense Advisory, through research conducted alongside Translators Without Borders, found that 63% of survey participants claimed that access to professional translators could have saved a family member’s life. This research also showed that, “at least 242 African languages are used in the mass media, a minimum of 63% are used in judicial systems and no fewer than 56% are used in public administration.”
These numbers, matched with the overall cultural diversity of the African continent, present a major impetus for increasing linguistic manpower and distribution in the region so that more people have the access they need to African language translation services.
Image of African Population, By Discott (Own work) [CC-BY-SA-3.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0)], via Wikimedia Commons