The recent publication of the ‘Use of Official Languages Act’ – https://www.blc.co.za/exploring-use-official-languages-act-south-africa – is set to make sure official South African languages (other than English and Afrikaans) are used on a much wider scale – first in the government and private sectors and later with initiatives to introduce official South African languages into education, business and daily life from an early school age.
This move to introduce multiple South African languages into our daily lives comes with a number of challenges that need to be solved to ensure success.
The greatest of these is the development of Black South African languages. Their use has been neglected and actively discouraged for decades previously, leaving many gaps that need to be filled.
Examples of these are found in highly technical industries, medical fields and even high school textbooks. On the side of technical industries and technology, many terms have yet to be standardized in various new technological and scientific areas. We at Bangula have recently experienced this challenge first hand, by way of translating our high school curriculum.
We have been working to translate high school subjects including Maths, Accounting, Physical Sciences and Life Sciences into Zulu and Xhosa. We have had to work closely with our skilled team of African linguists to try and standardise terminologies and develop understandable words for learners to deal with scientific and biological terms, such as peristalsis, the Krebs Cycle or the endless list of terminology lurking behind photosynthesis and reproduction among plants.
A lot of work is needed to further develop African languages. Bangula looks forward to being at the forefront of much of this development. Watch this space for more details and future initiatives.