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Africa is home to roughly 10% of the world’s population and, according to a 2012 United Nations report, contains 10 of the world’s fastest-growing economies.

• There are 2,000 spoken languages within Africa. (Nigeria alone has more than 500.)

• The media use at least 242 African languages.

• The judicial system uses a minimum of 63 African languages.

• Public administration uses 56 African languages.

• Tens of millions of people speak Amharic, Berber, Hausa, Igbo, Oromo, Swahili, and Yoruba.

In addition to the number of languages, one of the biggest challenges in African translation is the lack of “linguistic equivalence,” or the ability to directly translate into African languages from other languages. For instance, in many African languages, there is no single word for “cancer” or “clinical depression,” or technology terms like “cloud computing” and “social media.” These terms often require extensive explanation. 

Major Languages

Amharic                                      Arabic                                               French                                                Ewe

Afrikaans                                          Ndebele                               Fulani                                                  Sepedi

Hausa                                          Sesotho                                            Igbo                                                      Malagasy 

Setswana                                          Portuguese                          SiSwati                                               Somali

Tsonga                                         Swahili                                               Xhosa                                                  Zulu

Other African languages upon request