Oluwatobi J. Oladipo, founder and CEO of iVoice Africa, shared his presentation "Multilingualism in Africa and its cultural impacts on communication" at International Translation Day 2022. Oluwatobi, a voice over artist, describes how having a natural conversation differs from being able to communicate effectively - especially as it relates to communication in Africa.
His presentation has been shared on YouTube and is available for viewing below.
His talk is helpful for understanding challenges for language business and languages themselves on the African continent.
Most Africans are multilingual.
Oluwatobi reminds us that, "Multilingualism is not exactly what the definition says in the dictionary".
"You can speak a language, but may not understand all of its distinct dialects," he says "Being able to speak a language in a region does not guarantee that you can communicate in another region.
For example, in Nigeria, the official language is English, but it is less spoken in rural areas and people are less likely to speak in informal settings.
Even the Yoruba language with 47 million speakers in Nigeria has different meanings for words based on your location and the dialect spoken there.
Oluwatobi concludes the talk with some insight on how his company and others in Africa are playing a key role in localization of African languages by training, making language experts available and creating a language bank for training artificial language intelligence. This will help offer solutions to challenges Africans are facing, not only in the continent, but those in diaspora as well.