African vs. European

African vs. European

French and Portuguese are both common languages spoken in both Europe and throughout Africa. The most common question is whether there is a difference.

In order to start explaining, let us recap a moment in history. Africa, like many other countries, experienced imperialism when they were taken over and ruled by a more powerful country. Apart from Britain, France and Portugal as they were the dominate influences in Africa.

France had control of over 30 countries in North, West, Equatorial and East Africa. Portugal controlled 6 colonies, including Angola and Mozambique. Of course with these countries having control over their African colonies, their respective languages were taught and ultimately resulted in French and Portuguese being the official languages.

What happened to the official languages after the African countries gained independence? The official languages remained as just that. Those countries still speak French or Portuguese just as South Africa still speaks English after we gained independence from Britain.

Each country does however have their own twist on the European version.

As with any country, town or suburb, people create their own terminology or slang. The formal language taught in schools, is the same as the colonising country. But in day to day talk, the language differed from area to area. Just as someone in Cape Town will speak slightly different English to a person in Britain, but in essence, the language is still the same. In other words, a person speaking Portuguese in Portugal would still understand the Portuguese spoken in Mozambique.

This is just one reason why we, at The Translation Workbench, work with in country translators. Another tool we use to make 100% certain your message is portrayed correctly and localised for the area.

*Localisation is the way we translate your product into different languages or adapt a product for the use in a different country so that you can still send the same global message without changing the meaning.


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