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Saturday, September 15, 2012








Africans often miss out on resources because of lack of translations



In many African countries, dozens of different languages are spoken by different ethnic groups. And while each country often has a European language as its "official" language, most people don't even begin to understand it. That presents a problem for aid groups, trying to share information.

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For Hillary Clinton’s latest trip to Africa, she probably didn’t need to take along many translators or interpreters.
Maybe just a French speaker. Of the nine countries on her itinerary, seven are considered Anglophone and two Francophone.

That, of course, does not tell the whole story — far from it. In one of those Anglophone countries, Nigeria, more than 500 languages are spoken.

It’s mainly the elite who speak these colonial languages. In Uganda, it’s English, in Senegal, French, in Mozambique, Portuguese. But most people — especially outside the big cities — don’t understand those languages.
That’s a huge problem for aid agencies trying to get the word out about disease prevention. The brochures, leaflets and posters they distribute tend to be written in those colonial languages.

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