A Professional’s Guide to Using a Dictionary to Translate English to Afrikaans

Discover the significance of using a dictionary to translate English to Afrikaans

The need to break down language barriers has increased significantly in recent decades as a result of globalization and modernization. These two terms have made the world a small village in which people from different nationalities communicate and exchange ideas, beliefs, and experiences. They have altered the way people and businesses interact by providing access to natural resources and labour markets. According to the International Monetary Fund, globalization has enabled knowledge and technology to travel across countries. 

Thus, people from different languages and cultures need to communicate effectively to cope with the global trends of the current era. Here comes the importance of translation services which act as a bridge for communication, fostering collaboration and interaction among different communities. 

Many translation tools have emerged to facilitate the translation process for people whether they are language learners, travellers, businesses, or translators. Dictionaries represent one of the most comprehensive tools of translation that provide us with definitions, synonyms, antonyms, contextual information, and even idiomatic expressions. In South Africa, where there are eleven official languages, translation is highly needed to smoothly communicate with its multicultural and multiethnic population. Afrikaans is one of the most common languages in the country that needs to be translated to be able to connect with the Afrikaans-speaking population and build strong relationships with them. Using a reliable English-to-Afrikaans dictionary is essential during translating English into Afrikaans.

In this blog post, we will give you an overview of Afrikaans, explore the importance of using a dictionary to translate English to Afrikaans and highlight the techniques of using a dictionary. So, let’s dive in!

An Overview of Afrikaans

Afrikaans, also called Cape Town, is a West Germanic language that comes from the 17th-century Dutch. The name “Afrikaans” means “African” in Dutch. The language belongs to the Dutch vernacular of Holland proper which was spoken by Dutch, French, and German settlers and people enslaved by them. Despite its Dutch origin, Afrikaans is considered an independent language that differs from the Dutch language in its sound system and it does not have case and gender distinctions as in the standard Dutch.

Afrikaans is spoken in South Africa, Namibia, Botswana, Zambia, Lesotho, Malawi, and Zimbabwe. It has the highest prevalence in South Africa with more than 6.9 million people speaking it as a first language. There are about 8.4 million people who speak Afrikaans worldwide. Most of the Afrikaans vocabulary is derived from Dutch with many adopted words from other languages. Multiple dialects of Afrikaans were created as a result of connecting with immigrants speaking different languages. Here are three main dialects:

  • Cape Afrikaans
  • Orange River Afrikaans
  • East Cape Afrikaans


The Afrikaans culture is rich, and it was affected by the local cultures and those of the European settlers. You can see the Afrikaans culture in music, dance, and festivals. For example, a Riel or Rieldans dance is one of the oldest dancing styles in South Africa. The dance is described as ‘dans lat die stof so staan’ which means to dance until the dust is in the air. It is a fast dance with a lot of frantic footwork.

This significance of the language and its culture makes it necessary to translate English to Afrikaans to connect and engage with the Afrikaans-speaking populations.

The Importance of Using a Dictionary to Translate English to Afrikaans

Using a professional dictionary to translate English to Afrikaans will be an invaluable asset to communicate and interact effectively with Afrikaans-speaking individuals. 

English to Afrikaans Dictionaries provide us with many definitions, words, and expressions and their corresponding translations. Therefore, they help us understand the language and its culture, and use the most appropriate words or expressions. 

In addition to traditional paper dictionaries, many online dictionaries are available nowadays to support translators, travellers, and language learners. If you are travelling to an area where speaking Afrikaans is widespread, you can use an online dictionary to translate the words or sentences that are commonly used in your target region. 

Expert Tips for Using an English-to-Afrikaans Dictionary

To make the most out of a dictionary, there are essential techniques you have to follow to get professional translations. Do not miss reading the following tips:

Choose a Reputable Dictionary

You should select a dictionary that is accurate and dependable. It should be designed to translate English to Afrikaans to get accurate translations. You may check the reviews and look at their ranking in search results.

Select an Up-to-date Dictionary

When choosing an online dictionary, you should make sure that it is up-to-date to get access to all the latest vocabulary and expressions in the language. Businesses expanding to Afrikaans-speaking regions should utilize the most updated words and expressions that are commonly used to avoid being vague or causing any misunderstanding.

Consider the Contextual meanings

Although dictionaries provide us with multiple words and definitions, you should pay attention to the meaning of words in the cultural context as the same words may have various meanings. So, before picking a specific word, ask yourself the following questions: Is it appropriate? Will it reflect the cultural meaning? By understanding the context, you can choose the most appropriate translation for your specific needs.

Pay Attention to Grammatical Forms

You have to use the correct grammatical form to construct correct sentences in Afrikaans. Dictionaries provide us with information about the grammatical forms of words. Hence, ascertain that you use the suitable grammatical forms of words and pay attention to verb conjugations, noun genders, or adjective declensions.

Learn How to Deal with a Dictionary

Dictionaries have special formats and structures that you should be fully aware of to avoid wasting your time and use them efficiently. For instance, most dictionaries provide word entries in alphabetical order, along with their corresponding translations or definitions. Be careful with any additional information provided, such as word usage examples, grammatical notes, and regional variations.

Examples of popular English to Afrikaans Dictionaries

The following are some of the most popular and reliable online English-to-Afrikaans dictionaries:

  • Lexilogos: It is an online dictionary that provides not only translations but also maps and documents for countries.
  • Lingvanex: This online dictionary is very advantageous since it gives users the option to work on it using any device or browser. It applies machine translation and artificial intelligence with the ability to translate sentences accurately. 
  • Glosbe: Glosbe is a user-friendly online dictionary that offers translations for a wide range of language pairs, including English to Afrikaans. It provides translations, example sentences, and the option to contribute to the dictionary by adding new translations or suggesting improvements.


  • Afrikaans-Engels: Afrikaans-Engels is a dedicated English-to-Afrikaans dictionary that focuses specifically on the translation between these two languages. It offers translations, definitions, and example sentences to aid in accurate translation.


In a Nutshell

Dictionaries are one of the most precious resources that are used in the translation process. Whether they are traditional or online, dictionaries play a pivotal role in overcoming language barriers. They help people understand the language and select the most appropriate words and expressions that meet their needs and requirements. 

Afrolingo takes pride in offering top-notch English to Afrikaans translation and localization services. We employ professional translators who are in-country native speakers with in-depth knowledge of the cultural aspects of each language. If you are searching for a trustworthy translation agency in South Africa, Afrolingo will be the best choice. We will get you covered! Request a quote now!