The Importance of Swahili Translation
There are three key variables that dictate a demand for a particular translation service: the usage and distribution of the language in question, the commercial attributes – either well established or developing – of the countries that use it, and the complexity of the language that ensures professional services are sought every time the need for a translation arises. Because Swahili ticks these three boxes, Swahili translation services hold a prominent place in the translation industry as a whole.
Part of what gives Swahili its extensive influence is that it developed as the language of various ethnic groups, rather than that of a country. Country borderlines barely if ever change over centuries, even if that country does colonise elsewhere, but ethnic groups frequently tend to rapidly spread and populate elsewhere over time. In the case of those who speak Swahili, the language has gone from being spoken on a small stretch of the Mozambique Channel to branching out to have varying degrees of influence in a whole host of other African nations. Tanzania and Kenya are where it holds most sway as an official language, although it’s use as a minority language and lingua franca across Africa gives Swahili it’s prestige in the continent.
Burgeoning economical development in Africa unfortunately affects only a select few at this moment in time, yet several Swahili-speaking countries make it onto this list – one country where it is a primary language perhaps even topping this list in the views of many. The biggest economy in East and Central Africa is that of Kenya, which is the hub of Africa’s financial services and home to some of its most profitable companies. With this comes a strong demand for business and financial translations, not only help join the dots between Swahili and Kenya’s other official language – English – internally, but also to cross the language barrier out of Africa and into prosperous relationships with western and Asian companies.
The complex orthography of Swahili means only a highly skilled professional Swahili translator should be trusted with completing a translation. Aspirated consonants not being distinguished in Swahili alphabet makes it noticeably deflected. Despite the language being largely derived from Arabic, several consonants do not have equivalents in Arabic, with the closest sound instead being replaced. For this reason one letter can often represent multiple sounds, so native translators are often faced with the decision over which consonant to substitute.
Due to the combination of the aforementioned elements, business is booming for Swahili translation services, and the language’s relative exclusivity inside Africa constitutes that only professionals have what it takes to carry them out with the utmost accuracy.
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