Category: blog

Kenya Office 1

AfroLingo is on The Move!

An Important Announcement: We are Expanding!

The team here at AfroLingo are committed to delivering translation services of the highest possible quality. In addition, in order to continue doing so, there are some big plans afoot – exciting news that we just cannot keep to ourselves any longer.

Therefore – drumroll please – it gives us great pleasure to announce that we will shortly be opening a new office in Kenya’s capital city, Nairobi.

A capital idea

The opening of our new Nairobi office will provide endless advantages for both our company, as well as new and existing clients. For example, we will be able to reach a wider market and you can expect even more of the same high quality translation, interpretation and localization. In addition, with a greater number of professional translators on hand, it will be even easier to achieve your business goals.

From agriculture and education right through to the media and medical industries (and everything in between), we specialize in a broad range of translation services, brought to you by a team of friendly professionals in their native African languages. Opening a new office will enable us to offer you a wider range of possibilities, in languages ranging from Afrikaans to Zulu.

Opening new doors for everyone

As well as the new office in Nairobi, our plan is to expand into more African countries, enabling a wider client base and allowing us to forge valuable new relationships with local businesses – a win-win situation which we’re sure will open doors in many ways.


We offer nothing but the best

By expanding. We are also giving more businesses the opportunity to experience our unique way of working. Sure, there might be other African translation companies around that are ready to work with you at the drop of a hat but how many do you know that can offer on-time delivery of work (we never miss a deadline: fact), complete confidentiality, work-class professionalism, fully trained experts in translation, attention to detail and a finger that’s always on the pulse when it comes to new software and technology trends? By choosing AfroLingo, you are choosing the best. We believe Africa deserves the best and that is exactly why we plan to make our presence known throughout the land.

Exciting times ahead

What makes our announcement even more exciting though is the fact that we have experienced huge success in such a short space of time – and by opening new offices, this success will be built on and given the opportunity to flourish in further African countries.

So there you have it! The beans have been spilled, the (big) cat’s out of the bag and it’s time for us to make our debut in Africa’s capital city of Safari, Nairobi. We will be back with news of our subsequent new office plans as soon as they are in place. In the meantime, keep visiting our blog for updates on all the latest news and we look forward to opening our new doors to you very soon.

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ISO Certified

AfroLingo ISO Certified Company

AfroLingo is delighted to announce that they have gained the prestigious ISO 17100 Certification. A company that aims to become the finest translation and interpretation agency in South Africa, AfroLingo dedicates itself to achieving nothing less than customer satisfaction.

The ISO 17100 Certification affirms that AfroLingo meets the internationally recognized standard that has been set for companies within the translation industry, covering a range of practices that have been deemed fundamental when it comes to providing a translation service. By having this certification, AfroLingo has officially established itself as a high-quality translation company that follows certain steps in order to ensure that the client receives a service that adheres to best practice protocol.

In order to achieve the certification, AfroLingo had to meet certain criteria and follow three steps:

1-   Initial Assessment

The company was given a rundown of areas where they don’t comply, as well as recommendations in order to improve and meet these requirements.

2-   Writing of Documentation

The company then has documentation compiled in which non-negotiable procedures are outlined and teamed up with current business procedures.

3-   Presentation of Certification

Once the requirements laid out were met, documentation and certification is then granted.

Business Development manager Ahmed Hamdy said: “We have prided ourselves on our premium service that we offer, and gaining this certification has not only given us a more reputable and prestigious accreditation, but helped to affirm that we were operating at a very high-standard. “We are very proud that we can say we have the ISO 17100 Certification and hope it helps clients to instil even more trust into AfroLingo by knowing we are recognised internationally as leading translation service providers.”

The ISO 17100 aims to help improve the standards set within the industry, allowing clients to feel confident in their provider, as well as providers to feel confident offering a structured service that works and improves client interaction.

AfroLingo will be able to provide a quality service via a fully traceable system, increase their client base by being able to tender for contracts and ensure that client cases are managed effectively and efficiently. Clients will be able to work alongside AfroLingo with added confidence that they are collaborating with a company that meets industry standards, as well as has qualified and experienced staff.

Ahmed added: “We are really pleased that we can also offer on-going development to our staff with the ISO 17100, meaning our work is constantly up to date and on top of all of the latest techniques and dialects.“AfroLingo wants to keep staff morale and customer morale as high as possible, and this certification will help to do so. We have always been forward-thinking, and now we have the certification to prove it.”

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Wild and Weird Habits of South Africans

Wild and Weird Habits of South Africans

You know how it is – all nationalities have their unique stereotypical traits. With Germans it’s all to do with hogging the sun loungers on holiday while the Brits just can’t get enough of queuing. The French are snobby about food and Italian men fancy themselves as irresistible Romeo-type figures. When it comes to South Africans one stereotype concerns gender differences ie the men are masculine and the women oppressed.

Mostly stereotypes are complete generalisations and nowhere near the truth – as a visit to any of the countries mentioned above will testify (except maybe Britain since the Brits really do love a good queue from time to time).

But what about the habits of we Saffas? What are the things we do here in South Africa that other nationalities simply can’t get their heads round? Here’s some of them right here:

Protesting and prancing

When we say ‘prancing’ we mean dancing. In other countries when people protest about politics, wage cuts, factory closures etc, they march and chant. In South Africa we dance and sing. To other nationalities that’s a concert and a fun day out!

Loving the left hand side

In South Africa we’re so used to sticking to the left and passing on the right when we’re on the road, going up escalators and getting around in general – to the extent other nationalities who visit can become a cropper even just taking a jaunt down a busy street.

Having a variable vocabulary

All nationalities have idioms and specific turns of phrase that mean certain things which aren’t immediately obvious. And South Africa is no exception. Our use of the expression ‘now now’ when we mean something to be far into the future rather than immediately is one of them.

Bringing the house to the beach

Yep, we like to be comfortable when we head for the sand and sea. And why not? Often though it involves a good hour to get ready. Well, by the time we get our collection of deck chairs, small fridge, music accessories and food for throughout the day, we’ve pretty much filled the car boot – and the back seat.

Setting up a salad

When preparing a salad we South African’s hardly blink an eye when it comes to adding a few carnivorous touches to our greens. But in other countries adding meat to lettuce, carrots, beetroot etc is just unthinkable. That’s because a salad should contain only fruit and vegetables; adding meat is a big ‘no no.’

Red light waiting on the road

In South Africa we stay sitting at the traffic lights when they turn green because taxis travelling in the other direction have permission to drive first under the ‘early red rule.’ Not so in other countries. We’re just waiting for the foreigner-driven car smashes…

Silly about sex

We really don’t like engaging in the old ‘horizontal loving’ during the day. Well, some of us don’t anyway, according to stereotypical thinking. That’s the way animals behave. We’re fine with boozing and other pleasures during the day though…

Our culinary skills with caterpillars

In Britain, they bring out the cheese board after dinner, in Germany, it’s apple strudel in South Africa it’s…. deep fried caterpillars. That’s not a custom that’s been picked up by the rest of the world, strangely….

Loosening up the language

Here in South Africa it’s not uncommon to switch languages and dialects three times while conversing with someone. Other nationalities wouldn’t  simply just not understand what was being said, but they would find the whole process extremely bizarre.

Aptitude for apology

By this we mean the way we say ‘sorry’ all the time – even for something that’s not our fault. It could be because your friend is having to work late or they have stumbled and twisted their ankle. Yes, we didn’t cause the unfortunate incident, but we do feel ‘sorry’ for them and it’s our way of saying so.

There are many more South African traits that foreigners just can fathom and we’re sure you can come up with some yourself. In the meantime, if you’d like help with understanding other languages and cultures for your business then do get in touch. At AfroLingo in Cape Town we provide a range of translation and localization services for international businesses looking to get a local hold on their market. This includes Software Localization, Mobile Localization and Transcription. We also cover a range of different languages such as AfroLingo include Afrikaans, Swahili, Somali, Zulu, Setswana and Twi, amongst others. See for more details and to see what we can do for your business today.

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Why A Localization Strategy Matters More Than You Think 2

Why A Localization Strategy Matters More Than You Think

These days it’s easier than ever before for businesses to have a global reach – and why not? The world has certainly shrunk, thanks to communications technology and logistics.

But marketing internationally isn’t just about the latest IT software or physical know-how. Much more important is getting the language and culture right so that you can connect with – and appeal to – this new audience. In order to do this getting a good translation service on board is crucial.

One such translation service is Afrolingo. Operating in what has been tipped as the continent to have the largest working population by 2034 (1.1bn – no less). The country is also undergoing rapid urban expansion to the extent that the United Nations predicts the number of Africans living in cities there will reach 187 million by 2026.

Around 50 percent of Africans to have smartphones by 2020

Technology has its grip too. East Africa is a world leader when it comes to the mobile payments industry while although in 2010 just two per cent of Africans were using smart phones, more than half of people living there will own one by 2020, according to the World Economic Forum on Africa. As a result, Africa is definitely a market companies interested in a global influence should ignore at their pearl.

The term localization strategy is one marketers use when they talk about targeting particular areas (or countries, such as Africa). It means getting to understand the consumer habits of the people who live there together with how they think and what makes them tick in general. It means understanding not just the language to a high degree, but also the idioms, slang and alternative meanings of words and phrases. In other words, it’s being with someone who is immersed in the culture and everyday life of your targeted place.


What happens when you don’t have a localization strategy?

We’ve all heard the hilarious, fabled anecdotes about companies, many of them huge multi-nationals, who used their standard marketing strategy – and disaster ensued. There was, for instance, the US beer company Coors who translated its slogan, “Turn It Loose,” into Spanish, which is a colloquial term meaning ‘to have diarrhea’. More shocking still, another US firm – this time Gerber – marketed baby food in Africa with a gorgeous baby on the tin, unbeknownst to them that lack of literacy there at the time meant companies always put a picture of the tin’s contents on the label….

These days, of course, a localization strategy doesn’t just end with the poster, packaging and stapling. No, software, websites and apps are what most companies are focusing on today anyway. If you already have an app don’t think twice about changing its name if it sounds a bit ‘dodgy’ in your new market place.

Think images too. There’s nothing more annoying than seeing the poster of a glamorous American couple with perfect teeth and coiffured hair selling a product in a third world country where the majority of inhabitants are dark-skinned and scraping to get by. Not only can’t your market not show with it, they’ll probably find it galling too. Images can prove offensive to the extent they’re almost illegal. You wouldn’t want to publicise a woman in a bikini in the Middle East where the Muslim faith is for women to be covered, or instance – unless, that is, you happen to be seeking death threats from certain quarters.

SEO and Website content crucially always needs revision

When it comes to SEO, translation is crucial. You’ll definitely have to reconsider your keyword strategy due to the varying meanings of words in different cultures. And it’s not all about Google either; in other countries Yahoo is popular while in Russia and China you’re talking Yandex and Baidu.

Then there is the fact that some languages take up more space than others – something that’s particularly important when it comes to website content. Did you know, for instance, that the French and German languages took up 30 percent more space than British or American? Nope, we thought not.

There’s the whole price thing too. It’s important to find out what your product or service typically sells for in the country you hope to target. You’re certainly not going to get as much in the Ukraine as you would in California, for instance.

To find out more about how your company can expand into new horizons with a targeted and effective localization strategy then get in touch with AfroLingo today. This South African translation and localization company based in Cape Town specializes in services such as Translation, Software Localization, Mobile Localization and Transcription. Languages covered by AfroLingo include Afrikaans, Swahili, Somali, Zulu, Setswana and Twi, among others. See for more details.

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Why Mobile Localization is Imperative 1

An App at Home – Why Mobile Localization is Imperative

In the world today, everything crosses borders, from news to websites. Apps, mobile phone applications, get shared worldwide in minutes. But there’s a problem: Your app can’t talk to the people you want to use it.


The Limited App

The fastest way to let your app, and all the hard work that went into it, wither on the vine is to only have you app available in just one language. You might not care if the language that it’s in is a large one, like English, Arabic, or Mandarin, but if you wrote your app in a less widespread language, you might be limiting your reach.

Getting your app translated into multiple languages can increase your market and your market share. You might be able to grow your market from a few million to a few billion just by adding new languages.


Localization vs. Translation

Localization is a term that is more precise for the needs of an app designer. By having your app localized, it is able to appear native. Cultural references can be adjusted, every item on the app can become part of the new locale, and the app will feel more comfortable to the end users.

Translation, as in the kind that is often done by machines, doesn’t offer the subtlety that a native speaker is able to bring to the project. It’s not just words, but the feel and structure of an app that might need  to be adjusted and addresses. For example, if the language changes from a left to right to a right to left language, there might be structural changes that need to be addressed to make the app feel natural.


How to Get Your App Localized

The trick to getting your app translated, or localized, is having a professional how can make each part of the app appear native. While it’s rarely evident after all the work is done, there are dozens of error screens, small bits of text and other places where the language and structure needs to be addressed and corrected.

Firstly, don’t use a machine to translate your app. While this might seem simple and inexpensive, a machine is not going to be able to handle all of the structural changes that are needed to make the native and natural.

Secondly, you will want to look for a localization company with experience and  with the native translators and staff to be able to ensure that every aspect of your app is perfect. You need a team that won’t need a lot of direction and can handle making decisions well.

One important aspect is to make sure that your localization project has and experienced project manager. This will be the person who oversees your project to ensure that each element is handled in a timely and efficient manner. This single point of contact and responsibility will make your project run more smoothly and cleanly.

Localization is an important part of getting your app into more hands and creating an empire. The key to the process is to find a team that is able to keep your app looking and functioning will in every regional and locale.

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Desktop Publishing Making Your Ideas Shine 2

Desktop Publishing – Making Your Ideas Shine

You see it every day, but you probably don’t think about it. There are literally millions of items in the world that have been created with desktop publishing (DTP). Flyers, brochures, business cards, advertisements, you name it, it’s created with desktop publishing.


What Desktop Publishing Means to a Business?

A professional designer can create DTP items that are amazing. They work with images, text, and layouts that allow you to simply print the item out and it’s look amazing.

Not so long ago, to have anything created and printed meant that you had to hire a team. A designer would create it. A layout person would set it up. A printer would prepare it for offset printing. It was expensive and time consuming.

Today, a professional designer can use powerful programs and knowledge to create these same items in days, even hours, and have them delivered to you digitally. From there, you can simply hit print on the item and print out right in your office.

There are several reasons that the power of DTP is amazing for your company:


  1. Cost – Hiring a professional designer to DTP is relatively cheap. It requires that you just know a bit of what you want and hire the right person. What used to take a team weeks can now be done by one person for a fraction of the cost.
  2. Responsiveness – If the market or your situation demands, a DTP designer can create something for you that is timely and still very professional-looking. If the local football team wins a championship, a local school gets an award, or a local celebrity gets the big movie role, you are able to have marketing materials that capitalize on the news of the day.
  3. Professional – Rather than having something that looks like you put it together on your computer, you can hire a professional to design something that looks amazing and will impress everyone who sees it.
  4. Translation – At AfroLingo, we are also able to make sure that your words are translated well. Because our translators are native speakers, they are able to make sure that cultural references will hit the mark along with language that is perfectly translated.


Types of items that be created with DTP

There are literally hundreds of items that can be created. Here’s a partial list: 

  • Brochures
  • Flyers
  • Ads
  • Logos
  • Business cards
  • Letterhead
  • Catalogs
  • Directories
  • Books
  • E-books
  • Presentations
  • Resumes
  • Proposals
  • Labels
  • Banners
  • Greeting cards
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Make Me Comfortable Making Your Software Localized 2

Make Me Comfortable – Making Your Software Localized

The world runs on software. Everything from our telephones to our homes run on software. If your software is to be used by individuals or companies, you need to have if made local so that everyone who uses it feels right at home.

What is localization?

Localization is the concept of converting a piece of software from one language and region to another.

Wikipedia defines it this way, “In computing, internationalization and localization are means of adapting computer software to different languages, regional differences and technical requirements of a target market (locale).”

his definition speaks to the importance of adapting your software to each new language. It’s more than just language though. There is also culture and tone. These might seem like minor shifts, they are important if you’re the person receiving the software.

One of the most obvious examples is the difference between American English and British English. If you tell an American to put the box in the lorrey they will stand and stare at you. In the US, they are known as trucks.

A machine translation might or might not spot these differences, but a native speaker will spot them a kilometer (or kilometre or mile) away.


Finding the right localization team

There are several steps to finding the right localization team:


  • Look for experience – Every day, a new company enters the field. They come in two types: The kind trying to make quick money and the kind that are made up of professionals. Look for the team that has experience, regardless of the age of the firm that they work for.
  • A technical team – You will want a company that has a technical team that can understand all of the ins and outs of your software. They need to be able to find everything, from the main page to the error pages to the smallest page in your help files.
  • Native translators – Native translators are the people who make sure that your software “goes native”. They can make sure that your software looks like it was written next door not on the other side of the country.

What to expect


The most important person for your needs is the project manager. This is a person who will assemble and guide the team that is localizing your software. They should speak both languages and understand the process. They don’t need to be programmers, but they should have a really clear sense of what your software does and what changes will need to be made.


The next thing you need is a plan. The company should provide you with a step-by-step plan. This will be the guide for what to expect.


Finally, expect to be a bit flexible. Nothing ever goes perfectly, so plan accordingly. Make sure, especially if your software is your ‘baby’ that you understand this simple idea. Otherwise, you might find the entire process far more stressful than you need it to be.

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Put the Words on the Page 2

Why a Transcription Service is Vital to Your Business

Put the Words on the Page – Why a Transcription Service is Vital to Your Business


According the Abrahamic faiths, there was a time when all humans spoke the same language. When everyone got together to build a tower that could reach Heaven, God got quite upset and made it so that we can’t easily speak to each other.

That’s what a transcription service can do; they can make it so that everyone who needs to hear a speech or video can read it at their leisure. And if they all speak different languages, the document can be provided in their native tongue.


What does a transcription service do?

You know that amazing speech that the CEO gave last month? Or that video that you need to include into a printed document? A transcription service can convert the spoken words into written words so that you can use them anywhere you want.


At some firms, and AfroLingo is one of them, not only can they transcribe the document, but they can also translate it. This makes it much easier for you to share the transcription across borders.


The international Factor

The world has gone international. Very few things stay inside of a single nation’s or a single languages borders. That means that everything you do will be seen and read by people from all over the world.

Let a transcriptionist convert your how-to video into text. This can them be translated so that you can reach even more people. Getting a transcription and a translation firm together makes this process even easier.


The uses and needs for transcription services

Here are just a few of the modern situations where you might want a transcription service:


  • User’s guide videos – Providing a written version of your helpful videos will make it easier for people to follow along and learn what you are hoping to teach.
  • Corporate training videos – Some folks don’t retain what they see as well as they retain what they read. Transcription is a perfect way to help this group to learn better.
  • Speeches and conferences – In all likelihood, you paid a great deal of money to your keynote speaker. They were great. Now is the time to make a permanent record of that speech by having it transcribed and distributing it to your staff and, as a bonus, to your clients.


A truly experienced transcription service can make your life much easier and help you make more money. They can also help to create even more loyal customers.

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Hiring a Technical Translator The Right Words in the Right Hands

Technical Translator-The Right Words in the Right Hands

Hiring a Technical Translator – The Right Words in the Right Hands

In many cases, people think of translators as someone who can simply translate any words, from one language to another. In some cases, this is true. When translating a short story or a personal letter, a generalist translator can be perfectly fine for the project. If, however, a document is highly technical, it can require a subject matter expert to ensure that every word is correctly translated and understood.

Technical and Consumer Electronics Translation

Nearly all of us have purchased an electronic device that was made in a foreign land. When we open the user’s manual, we found that the translation made no sense. Usually, the manual or guide will sound like it has been simply transliterated and many of the words don’t make sense together or the sentence structure is incorrect.

The way to avoid this is hire a translation company that uses in-country linguists who are subject matter experts and able to understand the proper phrases and lingo when translating the documents that accompany a consumer electronic device or a technical document.

Financial, legal, and corporate

There are only a few industries where a mistranslated word can cost million of dollars. In financial, legal, and corporate documents, a single phrase can cost millions. Even worse, a mistranslated phrase or concept might lead to years of very expensive legal conflicts as the parties try to figure out what happened and how to make it right.

The best way to avoid this situation is have an in-country translator who is a native speaker, as well as trained in the specific subject involved. These experts are able to understand the jargon of the financial and legal industries, as well as translate corporate documents to make sure every subtlety is explained properly.

Medical translation

Above all of these industries is the medical industry. A mistranslation in this field can lead to injury or death. Imagine that someone mistranslated and simply transposes right with left. Someone might end up losing the wrong leg or hand.

This is easily the most important place for a translation firm that offers several safety valves:


  • A project manager who is a subject matter specialist
  • Translators who are in-country and experienced in the subject matter, including medical
  • Machine translation that acts as a reference and starting point for translations
  • A multi-step verification system that assures proper translation

If you have any questions, please feel free to contact us at AfroLingo. Even if you don’t choose us, we are happy to advise and guide you to make sure that you get the technical translation services.

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The Right Firm to Handle All of your Business Language Problems 1

The Right Firm To Handle Your Business Language Problems

There are thousands of translation firms in the world. Many of them are excellent; we won’t lie to you about that. In fact, we work for many of them as subcontractors when they need something translated into or out of an African language.

AfroLingo – The Complete Solution

Just for today, we’re going to use this space to tout our strengths and make a bit of a commercial. We want to list for you the skills we offer and what they might mean for your business.

The Languages

Firstly, the languages that we translate to and from:

  • Afrikaans
  • Amharic
  • Arabic
  • English
  • Farsi
  • Hausa
  • Hebrew
  • Igbo
  • Kinyarwanda
  • Ndebele
  • Sesotho
  • Setswana
  • Shona
  • Somali
  • Swahili
  • Tigrinya
  • Tshivenda
  • Tsonga
  • Twi
  • Urdu
  • Xhosa
  • Yoruba
  • Zulu

We offer a variety of services in all of these languages:

Desktop Publishing – By combining our language skills and our desktop publishing skills, we can create advertisements, marketing materials, and much more that are culturally specific.

Software localization – Making your software work all over Africa requires more than just language translation. Everything need to fit the culture and the people that you are attempting to sell your product to. This requires an understanding of software, native programmers and translators, and the ability to understand a myriad of cultures on the great continent of Africa.

App localization – The phones that are in everyone’s hands run on apps. If you app doesn’t speak directly to the cultures that you are attempting to share them with, they will never get off the ground. We can take your app and make it look it was designed next door.

Website localization – The internet is everywhere and that means that you have potential customers everywhere. We will make your website look like it belongs in the culture and the language that you are working in, not just translate the words.

Translation – To and from the languages that are listed above, we can provide translations, both written and oral. We have a team of native speakers who will make sure that every word is correct. They can translate written works or do live oral translations as well.

Transcription – Whether your work is audio or video, we can take the language and put it on paper. We can transcribe from a local language and translate it to an international language if you need.

Engineering, legal and medical – These fields have their own jargon that needs to clearly understand by the recipient. If not, people can be hurt or worse. We have the staff that is familiar with the languages and the specialty to make sure that you have the translation that you need and that it’s 100% accurate.

Project Managers

Our project managers are the key to our success. They are the first person to see your project and the last person to approve your work. They understand every aspect of the project and can ensure that everything is perfect long before it gets to your desk.

AfroLingo has everything any firm needs to be able to operate in Africa. From native speakers to technical specialists to project managers, we can supply you with whatever you need.

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