The Language Exchange
The Language Exchange
PO BOX 750
716 E. Fairhaven Ave.
Burlington, Washington 98233

Swahili Tanzania Translation Project


photo by: Ali A. Fazal

The Language Exchange had a recent request to work on a legal translation from English into Kizigua, a language from Tanzania. The request came from a government agency who only knew the people came from Africa and spoke Kizigua.

Jeff, our Project Manager Lead, spoke with one of the African linguists we have long networked with, and he let us know that Kizigua belongs to a very small tribe in the Tanga region of Tanzania and Zigua are the people.  The language is NOT written. However, the government there DOES provide schooling in Swahili Tanzania, which is a major dialect of Swahili (it is called “Kiswahili sanifu”). Swahili Tanzania is a wide-spread regional variant in East Africa, and that spoken in Dar-es-salaam, Tanzania is considered the “standard version”.  The project was for a government agency (confidential agency). The project was out of English into both Swahili and Tanzanian. The request was for Kizigua, and our translator identified the variant and standard.  The long documents were prepared for court hearings and all parties involved. The courts supply the translations so that all involved can understand what is happening in the proceedings and an accurate record is made.

Swahili is also spoken in Kenya and Burundi as a lingua franca, DR Congo (national language, called “Kingwana” there), Uganda (also national language). Rwanda, Mozambique and South Sudan.

Interestingly, at Boise State University, some linguists are studying the language of Zigua people (whom they identify as “Somali-Bantu Zigua”) who have immigrated to that area from refugee camps in Kenya.  They are working to develop an alphabet for the language so that it can be used as a written language. It appears that the Tanzania Zigua immigrated to Tanzania from Somalia.

Our linguist did the translation into Swahili Tanzania, and we have happy clients!