With 11 official languages, South Africa is a melting pot of cultures and communities. Born in the 17th century, Afrikaans derives from Dutch and has been spoken in the country for hundreds of years. When South Africa won independence in 1961, Afrikaans replaced Dutch as an official language, along with English, which is still the language of government today. Although Afrikaans is the most commonly spoken language, Xhosa and Zulu are still more widely spoken overall.
Due to the variety of languages spoken in South Africa, there is still a huge demand for Afrikaans translation services, in particular business translation. Afrikaans is largely spoken by the white population of South Africa who are still the country’s most affluent group, meaning the majority of business is conducted in Afrikaans. This engenders a need for translation services to aid communication both nationally and internationally.
South Africa’s troubled past and the upheaval caused by the welcome end of apartheid meant that the country had some serious adjustments to make – which had an effect on the economy. In the last decade South Africa has become far more stable and has formed notable trading relationships with China, Germany and the USA which has helped the country to establish international trade as a major part of the country’s economy.
Cape Town is South Africa’s financial centre and the city has reaped the benefits of the growing market. Cape Town’s main trades of Shipbuilding, manufacturing, construction, real estate and energy are being joined by entrepreneurial young pretenders who are also making their mark in the worlds of fashion, film and computing technology. Due to the rapid growth of South African commerce, the demand for Afrikaans translation services is high both in terms of translating from other South African languages and internationally.
Afrikaans was for many generations viewed as a language of oppression, as it was spoken by the former colonial masters who took over the country. However, in recent years the popularity of the language has enjoyed a resurgence and the younger generation have begun to use the language in order to preserve it. The unexpected rise in the number of Afrikaans speakers amongst young business people demonstrates that the need for translators will continue to grow as the South African economy expands.