Rising demand for African language translation services

South African language consultancy Folio Group is experiencing growing demand for its services from companies doing business in the rest of the continent.

“In the last few years, we have noticed a marked increase in the demand for Portuguese translations for clients interested in doing business in Angola and Mozambique,” says Johan Botha, director of the company’s international operations. “This is underscored by current statistics which show that seven of the 10 fastest-growing economies in the world are in Africa and at the top of that list is Angola.”

Folio’s top clients include advertising agencies, telecommunications and pharmaceutical companies. The company sees itself as a pioneer in the field of translating into African languages to meet the needs of the mobile phone industry.

“Over the years we have dealt with every conceivable industry and discipline in terms of translation and our additional services,” says Philip Zietsman, managing director of Folio. “Positioned as we are at the gateway to Africa, we are frequently approached by clients who wish to conduct export drives throughout the African continent. This can only be done effectively if the marketing material is produced in the languages of the target nations concerned.”

The company recently received the Cape Town Regional Chamber of Commerce and Industry’s 2011 ‘Western Cape Exporter of the Year’ trophy for businesses in the SMME category. The theme for this year’s competition was ‘Trading in Africa’.

“It is generally assumed that export awards go to product manufacturers, so I was delighted and surprised to discover that a company in the services sector could be recognised for its export activities,” says Zietsman.