Find a Language
We have translators and interpreters from all across Africa, allowing us to provide language services for dozens of languages. Our translators always translate into their mother tongue ensuring that you receive a precise and accurate translation. Look through our list of languages from across Africa to see some of our more popular African languages.
About African Languages
The continent of Africa has the largest number of languages in the world. Africa has at least 75 languages that are spoken by at least a million people and it is estimated that there are between 1000 and 2000 African languages in total. In Nigeria alone there are 500 different languages. These languages all fall into one of six language families.
As one of the largest language families in the world, the Niger-Congo language family contains over 1,500 different languages. Many of these languages are tonal, including Yoruba, Igbo and Ewe. The Niger-Congo languages are spoken in West Africa and include some of the most widely spoken languages in Africa, including Swahili.
The Afroasiatic languages are spoken in North Africa, the Horn of Africa and parts of the Sahel. There are an estimated number of 375 Afroasiatic languages. This includes Somali, Oromo, Berber, Hausa, Amharic and Arabic. The Afroasiatic language family is one of the oldest in the world, currently spoken by over 400 million people.
These languages can be found across Central Africa and East Africa in areas around the Nile Basin and Central Sahara Desert. This family includes hundreds of languages spoken by at least 50 million people, with the languages Luo and Kanuri being the two most widely spoken today, each with more than 4 million speakers.
Common African Languages
The most common languages spoken in Africa include Hausa, Amharic, Yoruba, Oromo, Igbo, Zulu, Shona, Arabic, Portuguese, English, French and Swahili. With 15 million native speakers and 100 million total speakers, Swahili is the most widely spoken African language.
These languages are found almost exclusively on the island of Madagascar leaving them relatively isolated from the rest of Africa. These languages include Malagsy, one of the official languages of Madagascar which has more than 20 million speakers. Other Austronesian languages can be found across South East Asia and the Pacific Ocean.
Other African Languages
The Khoisan families describe three unrelated smaller families containing 30 languages which are spoken by 300,000 people. Other small language families include Mande and Ubangian, both of which contain 70 languages. There are a large amount of creole languages in Africa, where multilingualism has caused languages to blend.
English, French, German, Portuguese, Italian and Spanish are spoken across Africa; typically as second or third languages for use in business and other official purposes. Afrikaans is another Indo-European Language, developed from 17th century Dutch and various African languages, it is now spoken by at least 15 million people.
Translating African Languages
Translating African languages is a difficult but worthwhile endeavour. Some African languages use an incredibly colloquial manner of speak, making it important to use translators who understand the concepts behind the idioms. For this reason we always use translators who speak the language as a mother tongue, to ensure that nothing is lost in translation.
African languages are numerous and include as many as 8000 different dialects, but we are well prepared to handle even the most obscure languages. Rare languages we have worked with include Zaghawa and Saho, which each have less than 270,000 speakers. We have also worked with the Bravanese dialect (Chimwiini) of Swahili, which has only 183,000 native speakers.
Whether you are seeking a translation for an obscure language, or trying to reach a larger African audience with a widely understood language, we can help.
Can’t Find a Language?
With so many African languages we cannot feature them all on our website, but this doesn’t mean we can’t help. We can find you a linguist with the skills to translate any African language, no matter how obscure. Contact us today for further information.
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