The Afrikaans Language
The Afrikaans Language is one of the official languages of South Africa, and is spoken by around 10 million people worldwide, the majority of which reside in South Africa.
Origin and History:
- Afrikaans, which came from the Dutch word for African, was heavily influenced by the Dutch language
- Afrikaans is a West Germanic language that originated from the 17th-century Dutch and was spoken by settlers primarily from the western regions of the Netherlands.
- It was only recognised as a separate language at the beginning of the 20th Century.
- After English, Afrikaans is the second most important language in South Africa.
- Initially referred to as “Cape Dutch,” it gradually diverged from its parent tongue, evolving through significant influence from non-European languages, including Malay, Khoisan, Bantu, and Portuguese.
- Social and political factors also affected the transformation from Cape Dutch to Afrikaans. Over time, as South African society became more distinct and isolated from its European roots, so did its language.
Number of Speakers:
- There are approximately 7.2 million native speakers of Afrikaans.
- A further 8-15 million people use it as a second language.
Official Language Status:
- Afrikaans is one of the eleven official languages of South Africa
- The Afrikaans Language is recognised as a minority language in Namibia.
- It also holds some degree of recognition in Botswana and Zimbabwe.
Example of Text:
Here’s an example of Afrikaans text.
The phrase “Ek is lief vir jou” translates to “I love you” in English.
Another phrase you might hear is “Hoe gaan dit?” which means “How are you?”
- Afrikaans is used widely in all spheres of society in regions where it is prevalent.
- It is used in government, education, media, and everyday conversation.
- Some South African literature and poetry are world-renowned for their unique expression in Afrikaans.
English Words in Afrikaans & Afrikaans Words in English:
- Like other languages, Afrikaans has adopted several English words into its lexicon. Examples include; “fiets” (bicycle), “bromponie” (scooter, literally “buzz pony”), and “baas” (boss). Many English technical and scientific terms are also used in Afrikaans with little or no modification.
- Several Afrikaans words have found their way into English, mainly South African English. Examples include “veld” (a type of broad open rural landscape), “trek” (a journey or stage of a journey), and “commando” (a soldier trained to carry out raids). The word “apartheid”, used globally to refer to South Africa’s system of institutionalised racial segregation, is also of Afrikaans origin.
In summary, Afrikaans is a rich and evolving language with a fascinating history. Its influences on other languages demonstrate its cultural significance and ongoing dynamism. Despite its origins as a variation of Dutch, it has developed into a distinct language with its unique character. It is an integral part of the linguistic landscape of southern Africa.
Here at Brightlines, we’ve worked with brands such as Microsoft and Thomas Cook and offer a wide range of Afrikaans translation services, including copywriting, consultancy and voiceovers.
Translating into Afrikaans is ideal for businesses who want to communicate effectively with people in South Africa and other countries such as Swaziland, Zambia and Botswana.
Our translation services - FAQ
Do you use native translators?
Yes, always. All our translators are native speakers and most are still resident in their native country. We pride ourselves on ensuring that all Brightlines’ translators are native. We do not accept applications from non-native candidates or allow them to register on our online recruitment database. All our translators are rigorously tested.
How long will the translations take?
The turnaround for the translation will depend on the word count. As a rough guide, assume that the translators can comfortably process about 2500 words of non-specialised text per day. Proofreading can effectively be completed on a basis of 4000-6000 words a day. Our minimum turnaround time is usually about three days, although it is possible to shorten this if you are in a rush for the final files and we will always be happy to discuss this with you.
What is the variation in your translators’ experience and qualifications? Are they native speakers? Will the cost increase if we use a more experienced translator?
All our translators have to go through a series of tests to make sure they are as good as they say they are, and only if they pass are they allowed to work for Brightlines. There is quite a range of experience and qualifications, but all translators have a minimum of five years’ experience. All translators translate into their mother-tongue without exception and are generally based in-country so they are up-to-date with the local language. We match translators with projects/clients depending on the subject matter, and most of our translators have industry experience in their speciality – there is no better experience than being immersed professionally in the industry they specialise in. Our costs are based on translator experience, speciality (i.e. medical, creative, scientific) and the language choice.
Which languages can you translate into?
We have an extensive database with hundreds of trusted and tested translators covering all commercial languages. If you cannot see the language or dialect you need please ask.
I don’t know the word count; can you base the quote on the number of pages?
Our pricing structure is based on a rate-per-word, but we can estimate from a page count. If we can’t see the source document then we would usually estimate between 300 – 500 words a page depending on the density of the text and the presence of photos and images.
Does the translation need to be proofread?
Brightlines is an ISO 9001:2015 certified company. This means that quality is safeguarded. We adhere to the “four-eyes principle” and translations are always checked by a second professional proofreader (who is not the translator). If the translation is for internal use and reference purposes only (i.e. not to be published, distributed or used in a court of law), or you simply don’t wish to have proofreading, we can remove the proofreading stage.