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Example: Multilingual Professionals as Translators

In this video, Saara Kamati, an administrator at the University of Namibia, speaks of her own and her family’s language practices.

Many of us, today, use a variety of languages in our personal and professional lives. In many ways, we are translators (or interpreters) and self-translators.

We may be more or less aware of how much we move between languages, but our linguistic repertoires (the range of languages we use, with different levels of fluency, in different places, at different time, and with different people) are vital to what we do.

In this video, Saara Kamati, an administrator at the University of Namibia, speaks of her own and her family’s language practices – and how these are changing across different generations. Saara is from Namibia, a country characterised by high levels of multilingualism.

You will hear her mentioning a number of languages, many of which are included in the list below, which gives details of the main languages currently spoken in Namibia according to recent census data.

Namibia has about 13 standardised languages, which are the country’s “national languages”, namely, Oshikwanyama, Oshindonga (these two closely related languages are at times also considered as one under the name Oshiwambo), Khoekhoegowab, Otjiherero, Rukwangali, Silozi, Rumanyo, Thimbukushu, Julhoansi, Setswana, Afrikaans, English and German.

In addition to these 13 languages, there are 16 more African languages which do not have a literacy tradition and therefore also no recorded orthography. Namibia’s complex language map and its linguistic diversity make it particularly difficult to differentiate between certain languages and dialects, which explains why estimates of the indigenous languages in Namibia range between 10 and 30. English is the country’s ‘official language’ and the main language of education.

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Working with Translation: Theory and Practice

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