Zulu Translation

The Translation People have over 30 years’ experience of translating both from and into the Zulu language. Although the number of requests for Zulu translation is significantly smaller than the requests for modern European languages, such as French, Italian, Spanish and German, they are certainly on the increase. Perhaps this can be attributed to the revival Zulu saw in 1994, when at the end of apartheid it became one of the eleven official languages of South Africa.

Zulu translation servicesare mainly requested by housing associations and public sector bodies who need to communicate with local communities in their native language to ensure that their message is clearly understood. However, in recent years financial institutions have also had increased requirements for English to Zulu translations, as they expand their share schemes out into South Africa and other Zulu speaking countries.

Our translation expertise is not limited to public sector or financial documents, we also regularly translate documents for the aerospace, mining, pharmaceutical and legal sectors. For a more comprehensive overview of all the sectors we work with, please visit our sector page.

If you require a translation into Zulu, contact us now or request a quote for an immediate idea of costs.

Zulu to English translation

In addition to Zulu translation services, The Translation People work with a network of professional interpreters who are available to facilitate court trials, conferences, public sector liaison and business meetings. Communicating with your clients via a professional Zulu interpreter ensures that your message is accurately conveyed and no misunderstanding occurs. In business situations this is the difference between winning or losing an important deal, in a court of law accurate communication is nothing short of essential.

Why use The Translation People?

  • Our English to Zulu translators are professionally qualified translators with in-depth knowledge of your subject matter. We only ever place a translation project with a translator who works into their native language and is comfortable and experienced with the subject involved.
  • Our technical knowledge and experience with translation memory software can help reduce delivery times and costs for your English to Zulu translation.
  • All our translators have extensive professional translation experience and undergo a rigorous selection procedure.
  • We can provide English to Zulu translations in any document format, from Word to FrameMaker, from Photoshop to PowerPoint. Our in-house studio and their 30 years’ experience will ensure that your translated document looks as professional as your original.

Zulu language – Did you know?

Zulu or isizulu has approximately 19,000 words and one of the most complex grammatical structures in the world. Many Dutch and English words have been incorporated into the language.

Zulu is one of the official languages of South Africa and is a member of the Bantu/Nguni language family. It is spoken by about 10 million people mainly in Zululand and northern Natal in South Africa and also in Botswana, Lesotho, Malawi, Mozambique and Swaziland. At the end of apartheid in 1994, it became one of South Africa’s eleven official languages. Like many other Bantu languages, it is written using the Latin alphabet.

During the early 19th century, Christian missionaries, including J W Colenso, S B Stone, H Callaway and Lewis Grant devised a way to write Zulu. The first Zulu Christian booklet Incwadi Yokuqala Yabafundayo was written by Newton Adams, George Newton and Aldin Grout between 1837-8 and explained the spelling of Zulu words and the history of the Old Testament. The first Zulu version of the bible was produced between 1845-1883 and in 1859, L. Grout published the first Zulu grammar book.

English, Dutch and later Afrikaans had been the only official languages used by all South African governments before 1994. However, in the Kwazulu Bantustan, the Zulu language was widely used. All high-school level educational courses in the country were taught in English or Afrikaans. Since the demise of apartheid in 1994, Zulu has been enjoying a marked revival. Zulu television was introduced by the SABC in the early 1980s and it broadcasts news and many programmes in Zulu. Zulu radio is very popular and newspapers such as isoLezwe, Ilanga and UmAfrika are also available in Zulu. Recently, the first full length feature film in Zulu, “Yesterday”, was nominated for an Oscar.

South African curriculum no longer specifies which South African language needs to be taken as a second language, and some people have made the switch to learning Zulu. However, according to recent statistics, the majority of people taking Zulu at high-school study it as a first language: Afrikaans is still over 30 times more popular than Zulu as a second language. The mutual intelligibility of many Nguni languages, has increased the likelihood of Zulu becoming the lingua franca of the Eastern half of the country although the political dominance of Xhosa-speaking people on national level militates against this really happening.

Zulu also has a place in modern North American film; in the song “The Circle of Life” which appears in the 1994 film The Lion King a number of Zulu phrases appear, including the phrases Ingonyama nengw’ enamabala (English: A lion and a leopard come to this open place) and Nants ingonyama bagithi Baba (English: Here comes a lion, Father).

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Whether you have a specific project you want to discuss, need a translation quote or simply want to discuss your requirements, do not hesitate to get in touch with us.

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