Why French Language Matters for Africa

French is one of the vibrant languages of the world and one of the current official six languages of the United Nations with Arabic, Chinese, English, Russian and Spanish. French, other than English language is the only language spoken in all five continents and it represents the 2nd  most spoken language native and foreign language in Europe

The language is spoken by over 300 million people worldwide with an estimated 200 million speakers in Africa alone in the 27 francophone countries. As a result, French ranks as the fifth most spoken language globally behind Chinese, English, Spanish, and Arabic. Besides, French is an official language in several francophone African countries including the Democratic Republic of Congo, Gabon, Ivory Coast, Burundi, Rwanda, among others

Despite the global reach of English, French is undoubtedly a growing language in the continent with at least two hundred million speakers. With this estimated numbers, the rising birthrates and literacy indicate that there could be 700 million French speakers in the world

Due to the increasing number of French speakers on the continent and the growing literacy in the francophone countries, fluency in French language comes with opportunities. The existence of Alliance Franca’s has undeniably contributed to the persistent increase and advancement of the French language on the African continent

Since the language is spoken in about 27 African countries, the number have explicitly rendered the language relevant and important in global and continental business. What is evident is the fact that every continental business forum necessarily involves the attendance of French speakers besides their English, Arabic and at times Spanish counterparts.

France is a leading tourist destination in the world and as such the French language becomes a necessity in tourism and global business

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Key Benefits of renting a tour guide interpretation Equipment

Key Benefits of  renting a tour guide interpretation Equipment

Tour guide interpretation equipment, also known as Bidule equipment provides much needed audio reinforcement solutions in situations when the speaker’s voice must overcome distance and any back ground interference such as noise as may be the case in the factory, church and or school tour.

The system consists of wireless transmitter with a microphone that broadcasts the voice of the tour leader or the interpreter to the specific individual receivers with plugged-in headphones or earbuds . In this case, the receivers are distributed to the group to enable each person to hear the speaker at a personal level. For instance, with the help of the interpreter, one is able to listen to the interpretation in the language they understand best.

The system helps the speakers to save their voices, save time, keep listener’s attention and better comprehension of the relayed message. Additionally, the system enhances better hearing among the hearing impaired at the public meetings

The multichannel tour guide system/ equipment enables effective interpretation in a multilingual setting hence enabling a two-way communication between tour guides and groups

Why should you rent a tour guide system anyway?

There are several reasons as to why you should rent the tour guide system. Below are some of the benefits of renting a tour guide system for your upcoming event

  • Helps to avoid the cost of buying

Although acquiring one for yourself may be another option, one needs to keep in the mind the cost implication including the purchase cost, storage and maintenance. A good quality tour guide interpretation system is quite expensive to buy yet if not well stored and maintained could put one into a financial loss. To purchase implies that you need to have a sound engineer to operate and maintain besides securing good storage for it. Short of which you risk a break down. Other costs involved include purchasing additional components and or upgrading the obsolete systems. This is quite significant in the contemporary world of innovations. Hiring a competent sound engineer to maintain the equipment is quite costly as well yet you may use the system irregularly. As a result, it becomes more cost effective  and reasonable to simply rent whenever you require since you can be sure of ordering a state of art system any time

  • Easy customization for each event

Renting the tour guide system saves you from continually augmenting the number of receivers and transmitters. Renting allows you to get the system that exactly suits your numbers and needs. You are able to order a system for specific number of participants and interpreters at a reasonable cost hence no risk of under or overestimation

Additionally, it allows flexibility in scheduling your event. You do not for instance have to restrict the location of your event to one location or region for fear of carrying bulky equipment. With renting, you simply have to order for a sound system in  a specific country or region of your choice

Word of Caution!

If you ever decide to rent tour guide interpretation  equipment/ system, choose a company that has expertise, reputable and has great customer service. One great way of ascertaining this fact is by checking the company’s previous customers. A company that has served reputable organizations before and is able to share the contact information of the previous customers is the one you ought to consider. With this , you can be sure of  a quality service and no risk of  being defrauded

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The below qualities must be exhibited in a professional language service provider for quality services. Clients therefore ought to see that a service provider possesses the below qualities before hiring their services.

  • Only undertakes assignments that they are competent to fulfill

  • Does not accept any work that in their opinion, is intended for unlawful or dishonest purposes or is contrary to the public interest

  • Is fair in all the dealings with clients , subcontractors, employees, other language professionals, fellow members and the public in order to establish and maintain good working relationships

  • Does not make any unsupported or misleading claims in any publication, marketing or promotional material, documentation or elsewhere

  • Treats all material and or information received from clients in the course of business as highly confidential and not to use any such materials for personal or financial gain

  • Ensures that each of its employees and subcontractors signs and upholds a non-disclosure agreement

  • Adheres to all the terms of any service agreements with clients, including service to be provided , special instructions , cost and deadlines ; should it become impossible to observe such an agreement for any reason whatsoever, the client shall be consulted at the earliest opportunity concerning a solution or alternative course of action

  • Guided in negotiating remuneration by the principle of equitability and in particular refrains from charging excessive rates

  • Enters into and observes service agreements with their freelance teams and states their expectations clearly prior to contracting such freelancers for any work

  • Uses on competent, experienced language workers qualified to carry out an assignment successfully

  • Bound by an arbitration process established by a professional language body that it is a member

  • Always upholds the highest ethical and moral standards in their dealings with clients, employees, and subcontractors and in the exercise of the language practice occupation

  • Takes part in all the activities of the professional body in which it is a member and always conducts themselves in such a way that their conduct and the quality of service will be to the credit of the client and professional body.

For Professional Translation Services including Document Translation, Conference Interpretation, Audio/Video Transcription, Proofreading and Editing, one ought to clearly know if the service provider possesses the above qualities.

The Difference between Simultaneous and Consecutive Interpretation simply explained

To every language practitioner especially in translation industry, the words consecutive and simultaneous interpretation are almost in the finger tips. The two words however are sometimes used inappropriately when it comes to professional practice. One for instance may be in need of Simultaneous interpretation but ends us requesting for Consecutive interpretation which at times causes confusion and embarrassment if proper guidance is not given. It is therefore up to the service provider to provide appropriate guidance to the prospective client.

In this short article, I shall be looking at the underlying difference between the two interpretation types respectively.

Simultaneous interpretation is a type of interpretation where the interpreter translates what is being said in real time. Here, the interpretation occurs at the same time as the speaker relays his message. It is the case that while the speaker conveys his/her message, the interpreter is also doing their job at the same time. Just as the word states, the interpretation is done as the speaker relays his message. This type of interpretation requires a specialized skill, agility on the part of the interpreter and keen attention to whatever is being said by the speaker. It also requires the interpreter to have strong comprehension skills and he/she must be familiar with the industry terminology. Simultaneous interpretation usually occurs in meetings or conferences where more than one language is used and in most cases occurs in meetings with a large number of participants. This type of interpretation also requires use of special interpretation equipment to aid the interpretation process. The equipment includes Sound proof booths, receivers, headsets, mikes, among others.

Consecutive Interpretation on the other hand is a form of interpretation where the interpreter translates soon as the speaker has conveyed his message. Interpretation here occurs in a sequence where the speaker is expected to pause and allow room for interpretation to be done. This type of interpretation usually happens in smaller conferences such as dinner parties, introduction parties, and small business meetings, Churches, among others. This form of interpretation does not require use of any special interpretation equipment but rather having good sitting arrangement to allow the interpreter better access to the team they are interpreting to. Besides, it requires keen attention on the part of the interpreter. Just like Simultaneous interpretation, it requires that the interpreter be familiar with the industry terminology for better interpretation to be done.

It is therefore indicative that both Simultaneous and Consecutive interpretation requires a certain form of skill, experience, and familiarity with the respective industry terminology. In any of the forms, there is no room for mistakes as any form pf mistake makes the entire activity faulty and inappropriate hence the need for Professional Interpreters.

Understanding Africa’s most popular and Spoken Languages

Africa is indeed a huge continent!  As a result, Africa has more languages and dialects than any other continent. It is estimated that there are more than 3000 languages spoken in Africa alone hence making it a sea of languages.

Besides, Africa is the second largest and most populous continent in the earth after Asia with over 1 billion people and over 52 countries and a home to the highest cultural diversities in the world

The major languages in the African continent include; Swahili, Arabic, French and English. Arabic is the fifth most spoken language in the world with over 240 million speakers worldwide (ethnologue) and one of the most spoken languages in Africa, mostly in North Africa. In Africa alone, there are over 100 million Arabic speakers with the majority in Egypt. Besides, it is also the most widespread official language in Africa , spoken in countries such as Egypt, Algeria, Tunisia, Libya, Sudan , Morocco, among others with the majority in North Africa and the Sahel region.

Besides Arabic, English is also widely spoken on the continent and used as the official language in most of the continent. It is spoken in South Africa with majority of native speakers, Zimbabwe, Uganda, Zambia, Swaziland, Tanzania, Sudan, Sierra Leone, Seychelles, Nigeria, Rwanda, Gambia, Namibia, Mauritius , Liberia, Lesotho, Kenya, Cameroon, Ghana, Botswana, among others.

As a result of the above, seeking professional translation services in Africa becomes a matter of necessity for all organizations working on the continent. The Translation services may include Document translation, interpretation services (Simultaneous interpretation, Consecutive interpretation and Whispered interpretation), audio and video transcription services among other related services. This however is also possible with the availability of professional language practitioners in the continent with vast experience offering the aforementioned translation services.

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Did you know about the Kebu Language, Uganda’s most endangered Language?

Uganda, a country in  East Africa has a total population of about 40 million people according to 2010 population census. The country has numerous dialects totaling to about 45 spoken across the four regions of Northern, South, East and West. However, some of the dialects are at the verge of extinction.

Over the years, there have been reports of a number of endangered Ugandan tribes and dialects in some parts of the country. Such as Kebu, IK, Talinga- Bwisi and Kenyi

Kebu, Kebutu, or Ndo Oke’bu is a community living in West Nile sub region of Uganda and it is said to be the most endangered community in Uganda.

In April 2018 in Zombo district, Mr Ephraim Waringu, the Thebiz  of Kebu Rigangi ( Kebu cultural institution) urged the Kebu people (his subjects) to value their culture and speak their language. He said in so doing, it will help to preserve the culture of already endangered language. Though a recognized language in the Ugandan Constitution, it is said to be endangered with most of its speakers getting diffused in other languages such as Alur, Lugbara and Madi.

The Kebu are a minority tribe occupying parts of Kango, Zeu, Alangi, and Akaa sub counties in West Nile sub region at the border with the DR Congo.

Despite the above, a few conceited efforts are being made in order to save the Kebu language. The most common event being the Annual cultural convention that usually attracts the Kebu from Democratic Republic of Congo, Bunyoro Sub region, Arua and the surrounding areas. In fact, in 2018 annual cultural festival, the theme was “Kebu londa uru” which literary translated means “Kebu do not be afraid, wakeup” This shows the urgency required to save the language from extinction.

Other efforts that are being made to save the Kebu language include; Seeking recognition with government as a fully-fledged cultural institution, and Seeking inclusion in media broadcasting. Unlike major languages in the country such as Luganda, Ateso, Runyakitara, Lusoga, Adhola, Acholi, Lango, Lugbara and Lumasaba, the Kebu language has very few incentives that could help to save it from extinction.

It is not  even clear if the Kebu people have a Kebu Bible Translation, although this is something that can be done professionally.

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What Interpreters ought to know about time Management

One of the renowned Kenyan Academics the late Professor J. M Nyasani whom the author of this article happens to have been his student once said “if you have appointment, make sure you arrive there latest 5 minutes to the designated time” He boasted of how he learnt time management while studying his PhD at the University of Cologne in Germany. In his book titled “ Philosophy of Development” published in 2012 , he argues that time management is an indication of development in an individual.

Professor Nyasani emphasized that time management is absolutely important and an essential aspect in judging one’s maturity. He always kept his word and ensured that he would be in a lecture hall or within the premises at least 5 minutes earlier.

When hiring the services of an interpreter, clients often pay for two things i.e Quality services and time. For the years I have been in the industry, this fact is undoubtedly true. Most clients inquire for professional services within a given period of time. The implication is that they require professional interpretation services within a given period of time and are willing to pay for a quality service within on time.

I recently got an inquiry from one of our clients, a reputable organization in the United Kingdom requesting us to supply a French Interpreter during their meeting in Entebbe. Upon agreeing on the payment terms, they sent a contract for the services. One of the clauses in the contract indicated as follows “ …. Reserves the right to make a deduction from the agreed amount if the interpreter fails to perform his duties within the given time or if he fails to turn up on time without prior information… and Igloos Consultancy Services, the supplier agrees to provide professional services at the said venue and time while pledging that the interpreter shall be available at the venue within the agreed time…” This implies that the client would only pay the agreed amount after the services have been offered within the agreed time and dates.

Imagine hiring the services of an interpreter who is a poor time manager. The outcome of such engagement is discouragement, inconvenience and NEVER to come back. The retainer effect is lost and this obviously puts the business in disrepute. Time management in an interpretation assignment is synonymous to professional work. One cannot boast of being a professional interpreter without being a good time manager. In fact, even if one attained training as an interpreter but failed to be a good time manager while executing their duties, their professional training becomes a matter of discussion and doubt because one would argue that time management should be an aspect during the training.

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The difference between Juba Arabic and Classic Arabic

The difference between Juba Arabic and Classic Arabic or Sudanese Arabic is a thing worthy knowing. South Sudan, also known as the Republic of South Sudan gained her independence from Sudan on the 9th of July 2011 in a ceremony which was witnessed by several world leaders and diplomats. It came as an outcome of the 2005 agreement that ended the then Africa’s longest civil war.

The brain behind the independence though, Dr John Garang did not himself taste the fruits of the struggle when he died in 2005 a few years before independence in a chopper crush of the Ugandan president Yoweri Kaguta Museveni. Born on 25th .June 1945, Garang later led the Sudan People’s Liberation Army during the second Sudanese civil war which later led to peace talks and eventual independence of South Sudan from Khartoum. The independence from Khartoum came with its own challenges as the independence did not enjoy peace for a long time. It was in a short period that the world could witness any emergence of several other rebel groups seeking to overthrow the government in the new republic.

The independence from Sudan did not only come along with politics but with a cultural identity which became clearer after independence. Juba Arabic, a South Sudan dialect of Arabic named after the South Sudan capital Juba became commonly used in the public domain and in different social arenas . Juba Arabic, also known as South Sudanese Arabic is a lingua franca spoken mainly in the equatorial of South Sudan. The language derives from the pidgin based on the Sudanese Arabic. What is interesting about Juba Arabic is that it has simplified grammar and influence of the South Sudan languages mostly in the southern part of the country.

The difference between Juba Arabic and Classic Arabic or the Sudanese is that the former follows the English Alphabet/ Latin Script while the latter follows strictly the Arabic Alphabet with no alterations. Juba Arabic has alternate names such as Pidgin Arabic and Southern Sudan Arabic with an estimated 800,000  Speakers.

Additionally Juba Arabic is widely spoken in Central Equatorial, East Equatorial, Western Equatorial states, North Bahr al Ghazal, West Bahr al Ghazal and Upper Nile states of South Sudan. The language is basically classified as Creole Arabic based hence the difference between Juba Arabic and Classic Arabic can also be clearly seen from the distinct language families.

It is therefore important to note the difference between the two dialects or languages.  When seeking Professional Translation Services , this has to be clear Otherwise, one may end up with a wrong translation for a right audience.




The difference between Ateso and Karimojong  languages

Ateso/ teso language and Karimojong / Ngakarimojong look similar but different. It is worthy deciphering the difference between Ateso and Karimojong languages . Understanding the difference between Ateso and Karimojong languages is necessary for everyone in the translation industry and to the historians. It is important to note that there is an underlying difference between the two languages though they are mutually intelligible .

Karimojong is an Eastern Nilotic language natively spoken by the Karimojong people of North eastern Uganda. It is mostly spoken in Karimoja sub- region in the districts of Kotido, Moroto and among others by atleast 470,000 people in the country.

Ateso like Karimojong is an Eastern Nilotic language natively spoken by the Iteso people of Uganda and Kenya who are believed to have migrated from Abyssinia (present Ethiopia) among the Habesha people of the Solomonid Dynasty of the present day Ethiopia and moved western direction and later settled in western Kenya and Eastern Uganda.

The language is part of the Turkana cluster and it is spoken by about 1.57 million people in Uganda and 279,000 in Kenya as per 2002 population census. Additionally, the language is widely spoken in Teso Sub-region in districts of Kumi, Soroti, Kaberamaido, Serere, Amuria, Bukedia, Tororo, Katakwi, Ngora, Bugiri, Pallisa , Busia  and in western  Kenya.

It is also important to point out that these two languages being of the same family, are mutually intelligible and also related to languages like; Dodoth and  Jiey in Uganda, Turkana and Tesyo of Kenya, and Jiye and Toposa in South Sudan. So the difference between Ateso and Karimojong is slighter and can be stretched way back in history of migration and settlement of Iteso and the Karimojong people.

Historically, the Iteso and Karimojong during migration and settlement moved together as a single group (Jie). However in the process, they split into several groups of which one moved to Kenya and gave birth to Kalenjin and Maasai people in Kenya whereas others moved west words and dispersed into several groups of Iteso, Dodoth, Jie and Kumam of Uganda, Turkana of Kenya, and Toposa and Jiye of South Sudan. It is believed that some of them lagged behind and settled while others further moved to western direction. Those who lagged behind were named ‘Ikar  imojong’ meaning ‘the elders can move no further’ who later came to be known as Karimojong and spoke language called Karimojong, whereas those who continued further to southern and western directions were named ‘Atesina’ meaning graves and this group is the present day Iteso who speak Ateso / Teso.

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The value of incorporating professional translation services into your business

As your business grows bigger there shall be an absolute need to incorporate professional translation services into it hence the value of incorporating professional translation services into your business cannot be underestimated. Even though your business doesn’t have an international spectrum, there still arises an urgent need for translation services because once your brand is translated into different languages, then the new clients are attracted to your business. For many times new clients may need to access your brand but due to limited public outreach in different languages the whole matter is faulted. You may wonder the value of incorporating professional translation services into your business to but here are some of the benefits.

Business expansion possibilities; You may wonder how translation services can help expand your business but this is absolutely possible with exceptional value. Once you have translated all your business materials such as, websites, adverts and different brands into several languages, it exposes your business to those markets which you would have otherwise lost due to language barrier. For example; if your adverts are made in French, most of the French people who may had never heard about your products may  be attracted to them than if the translation wasn’t not provided. In so doing you will be widening your market base.

Boosting communication; incorporating translation services into business is one of the best ways of enhancing general communication in your company both internally and externally depending on the coverage. For example hiring a translation company with professional and experienced translators to supply your company with translation services guarantees accuracy. This therefore helps for effective publicity in your business.

Reduces overworking the Bi-lingual employees; You may have some of your employees who understand at least two languages that you may ask to provide translation services whenever need arises though it may not be within their job description. This usually makes them feel bothered especially if it is not a paid service and moreover they may not be professional translators. In the process, they may do the work but poorly due to lack of interest or incompetence hence incorporating translation services makes work easier since everyone will perform their duties which they are competent in.

Limits dependency on Online Translation; Relying on Google translate for translation is inappropriate and inaccurate way of handling translation. By hiring professional translation services, you see the real value of incorporating professional translation services you’re your business through the positive results.


By Thomas Eliot

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