The language industry in Africa is full of untapped opportunities. Kabod has ventured on a journey of identifying, documenting and highlighting inspiring stories and innovative projects from entrepreneurs, researchers and freelancers in the translation, interpretation and natural language processing communities. The final goal is to celebrate African professionals in the language industry and facilitate knowledge and experience sharing.

Mr. Mxolisi is a freelance translator in South Africa. He translates documents in two working languages which are English and Zulu. He provides quality translation and transcription services.

Kabod: When did you start your career in the translation  industry? What attracts you to the role of translator?

I joined the translation industry 5 years ago because I love people. I believe that we can learn a lot from other people , especially people of different nationalities. And I believe translation is the key to that.

Kabod: Have you encountered any different way of translation in your career that you were not familiar with ?

Yes. The organization I worked with, introduced a different way of translating the message. Instead of  typing our translation, we recorded it and later transcribed it for printing. The goal was to teach us how important it is for people to read or listen to a translation that is simple, accurate and easy to understand.

Kabod:  What are some relevant initiatives or projects you are currently working on?

I am currently working with three managers of the Loft 2.0 project, which is a transcription software. Also, I am working on Upwork with translation and transcription projects.

Kabod: What category of translation do you find most difficult?

Translating Medical terms because my mother tongue does not have certain terms used in medical translation, so it makes it more complicated.

Kabod: How do you market yourself and your services as a translator? How did you get your first contract? 

I use LinkedIn to market myself as a translator.

I got my first contract from a friend that helped me to be in-contact with a manager who was giving him work.

Kabod:  What strategies do you use to increase your pool of clients while maintaining the existing ones?

I produce quality (translation / transcription) work and I always deliver my work on time.

Kabod: Do you have any translation topics or areas that you specialize in?

Literary Translation | Professional Translation | Administrative Translation.

Kabod: Do you think there is a viable market for African languages translation/interpretation? Are there enough economic opportunities for translators/interpreters in African languages?


Kabod: Are you a member of a strong network of translators or interpreters such as ALATT? Kindly mention them.

Yes. I am part of the African Languages Association of Teachers and Translators (ALATT).

Kabod: What are the three top pieces of advice that you will share to a budding translator/interpreter from Africa from your experiences?

1. To be a good translator you need to love people you

 translating for.

2. Good translation must be clear, easy to understand and accurate.

3. When someone reads your translation, he or she must not think it is a translation.

Kabod: How do you envision the future of translation in African languages?

Soon, African languages will be the best in the world.

Thanks, Mr. Mxolisi, for your time and for sharing your experiences with us.

Are you also in the language industry in Africa? Would you also like to be featured in our KLS Knowledge Exchange Series, which highlights the journey and experiences of African language translators, interpreters, computational linguists etc.,? Then, reach out to to express interest.