Trailblazing in Africa? Translation consultancy offers expertise

The Folio Group, based in Cape Town, South Africa, is in the business of translating commercial material into over 150 languages and is a world leader in the provision of African languages. It comprises Folio Translation Consultants, dealing with local clients and Folio Online, which caters to the international market.

Folio MD, Philip Zietsman

Folio MD, Philip Zietsman

Says MD Philip Zietsman, “Since the emergence of the Internet over the last 15 years, we have dedicated ourselves to becoming a global player via Folio Online.”

Last year, in a competition entitled Trading in Africa, Folio received the coveted Cape Town Chamber of Commerce & Industry’s Western Cape Exporter of the Year trophy for businesses in the SMME category. “Considering that export awards normally go to manufacturers and distributors, it was a wonderful accolade for a company in the services sector to receive it,” says Zietsman.

In over two decades of operation Folio has become recognised as being ‘a gateway to Africa’ by clients wishing 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.

Marketing to countries on a continent boasting such linguistic richness as Africa can be bewildering. But Folio is well placed to advise clients on what languages would be most appropriate.

Take Nigeria for example. Whilst the official language is English, clients may want to consider having their marketing material translated into at least one additional language, say, Yoruba. However, Hausa and Igbo are also widely spoken in Nigeria, and these might be additional options bearing in mind the nature of the product and the demographics of the target market.

Some companies will select a language based on the size of the population that speaks it, whilst others will opt for the one spoken by the more affluent classes. Here in South Africa for instance, Sepedi is spoken by more people, but Sesotho is the more urbanised of the two and therefore represents a group with more disposable income.

Folio team members with their 2011 Exporter of the Year Award.

Folio team members with their 2011 Exporter of the Year Award.

The project managers at Folio liaise between clients and a large network of freelance translators. These are all skilled language professionals who are mother-tongue speakers of the languages that they specialise in. Translators are required to have a university degree or college diploma as well as the ability to work with current CAT (computer-aided translation) software.

The mobile phone revolution sweeping throughout the continent has created an enormous demand for translation into African languages to meet the needs of the cellphone industry. Folio rose to the challenge and became a pioneer in this particular field.

Clients range from start-up companies up to multinationals in a wide variety of sectors, notably telecom, IT, retail and advertising. Finance and insurance, mining, tourism, legal, government departments and Life Sciences also require significant volumes of translations.

In the last few years, Folio has seen a marked increase in the demand for French and Portuguese translations for Francophone Africa and the former Portuguese colonies, i.e. Angola and Mozambique. In fact, Angola ranks as the fastest-growing economy in the world.

In addition to translations, Folio’s services include interpreting, voice-overs, localisation, copywriting, editing, proofreading, transcriptions and chaperoning/guiding. Currently, it is laying the groundwork for InterTel, an instant telephonic medical interpreting service for hospitals and clinics.

Contact Info

E-mail: [email protected]

Tel: (021) 426-2727

Address: Unit 2
10 Pepper Street
Cape Town 8001
South Africa

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