South African Languages Translation

Translating and Interpreting 11 Official Languages is Child’s Play

South Africa is a driving force on the African continent: it drives economic growth and development and serves as a prime example that a truly multiethnic country can stand united. Make no mistake, South Africa is truly multiethnic. There are 11 official languages representing the major ethnicities, but there are countless other cultures that call the country home. As a result, it has a hodge-podge of languages and dialects that blend together to give the spoken (and written) word a very distinct South African flavour.

While ST Communications offers translation and interpreting services for most of the primary languages spoken in Africa, we specialise in South African languages. So, no matter what the nature of your translation project – be it large or small, business or personal – if you want to translate something into any one of the 11 official languages, we can help you.


For example:

You might be going national with your business and need to translate all of your marketing material from English and isiZulu into isiXhosa, isiNdebele Sesotho, Northern Sotho, Setswana, siSwati, Tshivenda, Xitsonga and Afrikaans.

Or, you might have wedding invitations that you want to personalise for all of your friends and so you need them translated from Northern Sotho into English, Sesotho, isiNdebele and even Arabic and Portuguese.

Rest assured that our in-country first-language translators will translate all of your documents with pinpoint accuracy. We even have interpreters who can interpret in any South African language at business and private events.


Our Professional and Confidential Services

Each translator and interpreter on our team upholds our high standards of service by participating in our Language Quality and Excellence programme. It entails regular training and continuing professional development to ensure that our team is always on top of its game. In addition to ongoing training in the linguistic sphere, our translators also stay up to date on developments in their fields of expertise, such as pharmaceuticals, petroleum, mining, marketing, engineering, IT and finance. So you can trust your translator understands your material, no matter how technical or complicated.

Complete our online form requesting a same day quote, or contact us to find out more about our range of translation services in the South African market. Services include:

  • Localisation to adapt your commercial material to highly localised audiences.
  • DTP services to translate your business and personal material into different language scripts.
  • Consecutive and simultaneous interpreting for a variety of business and private purposes.
  • Translating and proofreading business and personal print material, including instruction manuals, handbooks, sworn statements, articles, academic literature, contracts, terms and conditions, by-laws and letters, emails and faxes.


South African Languages in a Nutshell

South African has 11 official languages:

1)     English

2)     Afrikaans

3)     isiZulu

4)     isiXhosa

5)     Sesotho

6)     Northern Sotho (Sepedi)

7)     Setswana

8)     Tshivenda

9)     siSwati

10)  isiNdebele

11)  Xitsonga


But there are many, many other languages spoken, including Hindi, Urdu, Greek, Portuguese, French, Arabic and Hebrew, as well as Khoi, Nama and San languages. And then there are the pidgin languages (Fanagalo) and other “taals” that are cobbled together and continuously evolve with new generations, fashions and trends.

English is the primary language of education, media, business and politics, but it is only the fourth biggest home language.  The biggest home language is isiZulu, followed by isiXhosa and Afrikaans.

The languages are distributed regionally, with different provinces having different predominant language groups. For example, in the Eastern Cape, isiXhosa and Afrikaans are predominant, while in KwaZulu-Natal you’ll find isiZulu and English.

Many South Africans speak more than two languages.

Famous South Africans include global icon Nelson Mandela, Oscar-winning actress Charlize Theron, cricketer Jacques Kallis, Olympic high jumper Hestrie Cloete, golfer Gary Player and Nobel Prize-winning biologist Sydney Brenner.