If you’re familiar with sub-Saharan Africa, you may already be aware that the Democratic Republic of the Congo is a Francophone country. Indeed, French is the lingua franca, binding together the speakers of the 240+ languages spoken indigenously across the massive African country. French usage is particularly common in the capital of the DRC, Kinshasa. Despite this, most people in the Democratic Republic of the Congo do not speak French as their first language—instead, many speak Lingala as their native tongue.
Lingala is one of the DRC’s four recognized national languages, standing alongside Kikongo ya lete, Swahili, and Tshiluba. It’s estimated to have 15 to 20 million native speakers, with an additional 25 million or so people speaking it as a second language. The smaller neighboring country, the Republic of the Congo, also boasts widespread use of Lingala, including in its capital of Brazzaville. Despite the prominence of Lingala in the Congo region, however, translation services for the African language are scarce, particularly to and from languages other than French. TranslationServices.com aims to change this—we’re proud to present our very own Lingala translation team.
We’d love to provide a free quote for our Lingala translation services—all you need to do is ask for one!
So, what is Lingala like, anyway?
Lingala is spoken in the northwestern region of the Democratic Republic of the Congo and the northern half of the Republic of the Congo, with small pockets of speakers found in Angola, Central African Republic, and southern South Sudan. Lingala is a Bantu language, a classification it shares with many other languages in sub-Saharan Africa, making it related to Swahili, Zulu, and Xhosa. Lingala is considered a creole language based largely on Bobangi, with extensive influence from Swahili, Kikongo, French, Portuguese, and English.
Lingala features the quintessential characteristic of Bantu languages: an extensive noun class system that dictates which prefixes are used with the noun and other words semantically related to it. These individual noun classes pair up to form singular/plural pairs—in other words, each singular noun class has its own plural form different from other classes. Verbs are modified through infixes, which can denote passiveness, causality, and reciprocity, among other aspects, and tense is marked through a combination of infixes and changes in the tone of the semantic morphemes of the verb.
Do you need translation services to or from Lingala? Our team offers both.
Our Lingala translators are experienced professionals passionate about helping Lingala speakers and English speakers connect, across all domains. Thus, we’re pleased to announce that our translation services work in both directions—from Lingala to English and from English to Lingala. Our diverse team of translators also allows us to offer specialized translation in various domains. So, if you need business materials, academic papers, historical documents, or traditional literature translated from Lingala to English, we’ll help you share your Lingala-language material with the rest of the world. If you want to bring international content to the Congo—say, promotional material to cater your business offerings to locals, or pedagogical materials to help develop the educational offerings in the area, or books, websites, apps, games, and poetry to entertain and thrill Lingala speakers in their native language—our Lingala translators are always happy to oblige.
We’d love to get started on your first Lingala translation—just reach out to tell us what you need!