5 Common Mistakes to Avoid in Afrikaans Language Translation

5 Common Mistakes to Avoid in Afrikaans Language Translation

How many times did you laugh or feel puzzled because of mistranslations of road signs, directions, or restaurant’ menus? Surely a lot! Due to the recent advancements in artificial intelligence, the use of machine translations is now prevalent, providing business owners and even individuals with fast and cost-effective solutions. But, can these tools identify culturally related expressions, idioms, and metaphors? Definitely, not! This is the disastrous trap that many businesses nowadays fall into. Machine translation tools still need the human touch to ensure that all the cultural aspects are addressed.

So, translation is not just merely conveying words from one language to another. It is an art that requires an experienced translator with a thorough knowledge of the linguistic and cultural nuances of the language to deliver the exact meaning of the source text. One of the most important languages in South Africa that is rich in its cultural and linguistic heritage is Afrikaans. 

The Afrikaans language is a mix between the European and indigenous African cultures, putting it among the most difficult languages to translate. Thus, it is important to be aware of the most common mistakes that people make when using Afrikaans language translation services. In this article, we will walk you through the significance of Afrikaans language translation and discuss its common mistakes, providing tips on how to avoid them. Let’s jump right into it!

Exploring the Significance of Afrikaans Language Translation

Afrikaans is a West Germanic language that originated from the 17th-century Dutch. It came from the Dutch vernacular of South Holland that was used by Dutch, French, and German settlers to communicate with their African slaves. Afrikaans also belongs to the Indo-European language family with over 8.4 million people worldwide speaking it as a first language.

It is one of the official languages in South Africa and serves as a connection to the country’s history, literature, and identity. Being the third most spoken language in South Africa, it is indispensable to translate the Afrikaans language to English when you expand your business to Afrikaans-speaking markets.

Furthermore, by using Afrikaans language translation services, we contribute to the preservation and promotion of this unique cultural heritage. The following are some of the key benefits of Afrikaans language translation services for your business:

  • Enabling Business Expansion: For businesses expanding to any of the Afrikaans-speaking markets, using Afrikaans language translation services is a prerequisite to enlarge their customer base. By translating their business materials into Afrikaans, businesses can reach and engage with the Afrikaans-speaking population and establish long-lasting relationships with them.
  • Improved Customer Experience: By translating all their marketing materials, websites, product descriptions, and other services into Afrikaans, businesses can show their respect and appreciation for the culture of Afrikaans-speaking customers. This will help them win their trust and build solid relationships with them.
  •  Legal Compliance with Regulations: Businesses operating in South Africa may be required to provide legal documents, contracts, and other important information in Afrikaans. Utilizing Afrikaans language translation services ensures compliance with these regulations and avoids legal complications.

5 Common Pitfalls to Avoid in Afrikaans Language Translation

We all know that mistakes can act like teachers. You should look at others’ mistakes to avoid falling into them in the future. Hence, to make sure that your Afrikaans translations are accurate, reliable, and of high quality, have a look at these common mistakes:

The Use of Literal Translation

The Afrikaans language is rich in cultural expressions that the language acquired centuries ago as a result of the impact of both European and African cultures. For instance, an idiom like “Moenie die hoender ruk nie” can be literally translated as “Do not shake the chicken”, while, in the Afrikaans culture, it means “Do not overdo it”. The same is in “Die poppe gaan dans” which literally means “The dolls will dance”. However, it is used by Afrikaans native speakers to indicate that something bad is going to happen.

Therefore, using literal or word-for-word translation to translate the Afrikaans language will never be handy, especially if you are translating creative texts such as marketing materials. Professional Afrikaans translators should be native speakers of the language and well-versed in its cultural nuances to not only translate but also use localization to deliver translations that are accurate and culturally appropriate. 

The Use of Wrong Vocabulary

Afrikaans is a vibrant language that develops itself every day. New words and expressions are added daily to the language, some of which do not have equivalents in many languages such as English. Inexperienced translators may not be able to handle such changes and select the wrong words that confuse the readers. So, you should make sure that you hire professional translators who are in-country native speakers and up-to-date with any changes that happen in the language. 

The Inability to Distinguish Between Afrikaans Dialects

Afrikaans has several dialects that belong to each region such as Cape Afrikaans, Orange River Afrikaans, East Cape Afrikaans and many more. Each dialect has many words that are borrowed from other languages. Translators find it challenging to differentiate between these various dialects. It requires a well-trained translator with extensive knowledge of all the dialects of the language to ensure that translations will both reflect the original message and resonate with the target audience.

Relying Solely on Machine Translation

Relying solely on machine translation without any human involvement can lead to inaccurate or nonsensical translations, especially for complex or nuanced content. To ensure the quality of your translations, consider using a combination of machine translation and human proofreading/editing. This way, you can benefit from machine translation’s speed and efficiency while having a human expert review and refine the output.

Neglecting Proofreading and Editing

Even the best translators can make mistakes, which is why proofreading and editing are essential steps in the translation process. Neglecting these steps can lead to errors, inconsistencies, or awkward phrasing in the final translation. To ensure the accuracy and fluency of your Afrikaans translations, ensure that your hired translation agency or translator allocates time and resources for thorough proofreading and editing. 

The Botton Line

Using Afrikaans language translation services can be a valuable asset if you decide to approach the Afrikaans-speaking populations. Yet, you should avoid common mistakes to ensure that your translations are of the highest quality. 

In the end, remember that not all translation agencies provide reliable Afrikaans translation services. You should select a reputable language service provider that specializes in Afrikaans translations and has a track record of delivering top-notch work such as Afrolingo. At Afrolingo, our Afrikaans translators are native speakers with demonstrated subject-matter expertise. They are fully aware of all the cultural and linguistic nuances of the Afrikaans language and can deliver tailor-made language solutions that suit your business needs. Contact us today!