The most used languages by international development agencies can be determined by which countries receive the most aid. International development translation services usually involve English. But, in 2021, the top ten countries that received U.S. aid were nations in Africa, the Middle East, and Asia. While many of them use English, there are several others that hardly do – in some cases, due to a political motivation.
Let’s look at the principal languages of these countries to find out what their needs are when it comes to translation services for economic development and social welfare projects.
Translation for International Development In Ethiopia
There are between 45 and 86 languages spoken in Ethiopia. Afar, Amharic, Oromo, Somali, and Tigrinya are the official languages. Since English is not one of the official languages, organizations like international NGOs need to be able to access the local communities through development program translators and interpreting services.
Translation for International Development in Jordan
English is widely spoken, but the sole official language is Arabic. Many nationals of Jordan are traveled, so one can also find speakers of French, German, Italian, and Spanish. The most used languages by international development agencies are English and Arabic.
Translation for International Development in Afghanistan
There are between 40 and 59 languages spoken in Afghanistan. Dari and Pashto are the official languages – bilingualism is very common and international aid translators therefore need to be familiar with these two languages. English is only spoken by about 5% of the population.
International Development Translation in South Sudan
About 60 indigenous languages are spoken in South Sudan. The official language, though, is English. They also have many recognized national languages like Dinka, Nuer, Murle, Luo (also known as Anyuak, Acholi, Shilluk, Pari, Jur-Luo, and other names), Ma’di, Othuo, and Zande. Agencies that offer translation for NGOs need to work with linguists familiar with the lingua francas: Juba Arabic, English, Bari, Dinka, Luo, Murle, Nuer, and Zande.
Translation for International Development in the DRC
The Democratic Republic of Congo is one of the most linguistically diverse countries in the world, with over 200 spoken languages. Its official languages are French, Kikongo ya leta, Lingala, Swahili, and Tshiluba. The country’s national broadcaster, Radio Télévision Nationale Congolaise (RNTC) broadcasts in Lingala, French, and English, as those are the most helpful languages for international cooperation.
Standard Languages for Global Development Agencies in Yemen
Arabic is the official language. But there are five additional Arabic dialects spoken in Yemen, including Yemeni Arabic. In the far east of the country, and on the island of Socotra, non-Arabic languages are spoken. English is widely taught and spoken in southern Yemen and there is also the presence of Russian speakers, stemming from eighteenth century cross-marriages. Humanitarian organizations communicating using English and Modern Standard Arabic for country-wide projects.
Translation Services for Non-Profits in Nigeria
Nigeria is the most linguistically diverse on this list. The official language is English and the national languages are Hausa, Igbo, and Yoruba. Beyond those, there are over 525 regional languages. Nine of these languages have gone extinct. Nigerian Pidgin English or “Broken English” is also widely used. Nigerian Standard English is most used for international development translation and localization services.
Global Translation in Syria
Arabic, Assyrian, Armenian, Kurdish, and Syriac are the most important languages in Syria. Arabic is the official language, whose main dialect in the country is called Levantine. English and French are widely spoken as second languages. These last three languages are the most used in humanitarian endeavors.
Most Used Languages by Humanitarian Organizations in Sudan
Sudan has over 115 languages, 70 of which are native. The official languages are Arabic and English. Language disputes between English and Arabic have been a pain point for the country and fuel for hostilities and political action, which has caused international development agencies to have to adapt.
Translation for International Development in Somalia
Arabic and Somali are the official languages but, due to past colonization by Italy, Italian is spoken as well, mostly in southern Somalia. Currently, Italian and English are recognized national languages. English is widely taught and spoken. It is the language used in universities and in major NGOs.
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