Bound for Africa and not sure how to say “Hello” ? If you are reading this illuminating guest post by EVS Translations – a professional translations company – it means that you are interested in languages and travel, two topics that often go together, and EVS Translations can provide information and advice regarding all the linguistic implications of a trip to the dark continent.

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Many people learn a language because the ultimate aim is to travel to far-flung places, so if you are planning to travel in exotic lands, particularly Africa, at least a smattering of the local language will stand you in good stead with the local people. “hakuna matata”(no problem) pronounced with a smile in a Nairobi market will probably mean that the trader will not overcharge you too much! While in Arabic-speaking countries “marhaba” (good-day) or “salam al-leikum” (peace be with you) or “choukran” (thank you) would surely have the same effect whilst shopping for souvenirs in the souq!

Europeans who speak the local language are regarded with much esteem. Lawrence of Arabia spoke perfect Arabic, the great explorer Sir Richard Burton spoke twenty-nine languages, and of course, Indiana Jones knows every exotic language! Even if you are not Indiana Jones but you are planning a journey to mysterious Africa, start with the language.

The study of widely-used African languages like Swahili or Zulu is a challenge which would give enormous satisfaction when you are able to communicate with the local people in their own language. Too much of a challenge? Go for French or Portuguese, in fact European languages are spoken in much of Africa, a legacy from their colonial past: French is spoken in Algeria, Italian in Libya, Portuguese in Angola, Spanish in Guinea, etc.

If your destination is South Africa then take a course in Afrikaans, if you are heading for the northern part of the continent then a full-immersion in Arabic is an essential part of your preparation!

Learning a language involves not only words, grammar and pronunciation, it is also culture and in the process, we also learn a bit about the traditions and history of a people, it gives us an insight into a different way of life. To be a step ahead in your African exploration, follow the advice of EVS Translations – a professional translations company that knows all the advantages of linguistic ability, and invest in some language learning.