Although Africa is a continent that is popular for its linguistic and cultural diversity with almost 2000 languages, many indigenous African languages are endangered to be extinct soon. Unesco has predicted that many African languages will be extinct by 2025 such as the Igbo language which once had around 25 million speakers.
There are many reasons for the endangerment of many African languages in this current age where globalization is affecting all aspects of life. In fact, the need to use world languages such as English, French, and Spanish in worldwide communication has remarkably increased causing the negligence of many other inherited African languages.
In this blog, we will discuss the reasons why many African languages are about to be extinct. Also, we will highlight the importance of translating and localizing African languages for businesses planning to penetrate many African markets.
Why Many African Languages Are Endangered?
Indeed, globalization is not just about economics; however, there are many other factors that are considered integral parts of it such as language and culture. Some languages are referred to as global languages, or, in other words, the languages that are used for global communication such as English, French, Arabic, and Spanish. Thus, many other languages have been neglected including the indigenous African languages.
The following are some reasons for the marginalization of many African languages.
Lack of Support
Indigenous African languages are not supported by media, education systems, speakers of the language, and the government.
For example, in education, the government prefers to invest in globalized languages which makes the educational process more difficult for students. Actually, researchers have found that learners absorb content better when it is written in their mother tongue.
One might also say that some African languages do not have scientific terms or enough vocabulary to be applied in school curricula. However, the solution is to borrow scientific words from other languages as is the case in many other famous languages around the world.
There are many ways to save the African languages from extinction. However, the desire to preserve them needs to be strengthened.
Many African Languages Are Oral
To preserve a language, it has to be documented manually and electronically. Unfortunately, the problem with many African languages is that they are only practiced orally making it more difficult to save them from being under extinction. Many efforts are being made currently to preserve some of the African languages through documentation. You are not only saving the language, but you are also saving cultures and precious heritages.
The Importance of Localizing African Languages
Nelson Mandela once said, “If you speak to a man in a language he understands, it goes to his head. If you speak to him in his language, it goes to his heart”.
The following are two of the main reasons why you should invest in African languages.
Creating a Solid Customer Base
Translating and Localizing your product information into the indigenous African languages of the domains you will expand in will help you reach your target customer easily since people prefer to buy products that are in their native languages. They will feel that your content is originally made for them and hence their loyalty will be boosted.
Increased Conversion Rates
Localization is not a word-for-word translation. It is the adaptation of your message to sound appealing to target customers. Therefore, localization of your product or services into the indigenous African languages will be fruitful and will skyrocket your sales in the African markets.
To guarantee the success of your business in African countries, you have to rely on a professional translation agency to localize your content to sound natural for the African people and hence increase your sales.
At Afrolingo, we have a professional team of translators who are native speakers of many African languages and are able to provide you with top-notch translation and localization services. Do not hesitate and contact us now!