The Congo stretches over a larger geographical area than you might realize. Indeed, the two countries that comprise the Congo—the Democratic Republic of the Congo (Congo-Kinshasa) and the Republic of the Congo (Congo-Brazzaville)—together span an area of 2,687,409 square kilometers (1,669,879 square miles). Like many countries in Africa, both are hotspots for linguistic diversity, with the Republic of the Congo recording 62 languages and the Democratic Republic of the Congo boasting 242 languages. Unsurprisingly, many of the languages in the Congo are Kongo languages, Bantu languages native to the western Congo, which includes both Congo countries and Angola.
When counted together, all Kongo languages account for around 9 million speakers, spread out across the Republic of the Congo, the Democratic Republic of the Congo, and Angola, with a small number of speakers also living in Gabon. The exact classification of Kongo languages can differ, but they’re generally categorized as a group of a couple dozen languages, with Kikongo accounting for more than half of all speakers of Kongo languages. Kikongo is also the base for the creole language Kituba, also widely spoken in both Congo nations. However, despite how widespread the Kongo languages, particularly Kikongo and Kituba, are, they still receive next to no recognition globally, meaning there are almost no translation services for the group. At TranslationServices.com, we’ve put together a Kongo languages translation service, and we’re proud to present it today.
You can see a quote for our Kongo languages translation services for free if you just reach out and ask.
Taking a journey through the Kongo languages
Like most indigenous languages in sub-Saharan Africa, the Kongo languages belong to the Bantu family, making them related to big names like Swahili. They’re spoken by the Bakongo people, a massive ethnic group found in both Congo countries, Angola, and Gabon. However, in all four countries, the Kikongo languages (and, in fact, all indigenous languages) are overshadowed by the imported languages introduced through European colonization (French in the Congo countries and Gabon; Portuguese in Angola). Here’s a list of the biggest Kongo languages:
Kituba (Kikongo ya leta, Kongo-Kituba; sometimes confusingly called Kikongo)
While Kikongo and Kituba claim the most speakers, Suundi and Vili both have more than 100,000 speakers each. Kunyi is smaller, with around 52,000 speakers, while Bembe has only 1,300 speakers. Vili and Bembe should not be confused with Vili (Ibhili) in Gabon, Bembe (Ibembe) in the Democratic Republic of the Congo and Tanzania, or Bemba in Zambia.
Kikongo languages feature the same complicated grammar points that define Bantu languages: a complex and expansive noun class system that adds prefixes to nouns, verbs, adjectives, and demonstratives according to the characteristics of the noun. Each class also uses a different plural form, living a dizzying trail of memorization for learners of the language. Since verbs are obligatorily marked for person, both subject and object, pronouns are often omitted.
Let us be your guide through Kongo languages translation services.
Although many indigenous African languages face the threats of erosion and endangerment, many native speakers are also proud of their unique cultural heritage and language. We’ve searched far and wide across the Republic of the Congo, the Democratic Republic of the Congo, Angola, and Gabon to find talented, enthusiastic translators of Kongo languages and invite them to our team. Their wide-ranging experience allows them to seamlessly translate to and from Kongo languages for all sorts of content, such as…
Business materials. Kikongo or Kituba can go a long way in the Congo countries, but if you want to take your business global, you’ll need English. Our translators can smoothly translate corporate and promotional documents in a Kikongo language into English fit for the international market. Similarly, we’re always happy to help organizations abroad establish a foothold in the Congo by translating their business texts into Kongo languages.
Educational content. Unfortunately, access to quality education can be a problem in the Congo region, and scholastic materials are usually disseminated in French or Portuguese. Our Kongo translators are passionate about educating local children in their native Kongo languages—so we’d love to help you translate pedagogical texts into Kongo languages.
Creative writing. If you want to publish local Kongo stories on the international market, showcasing the vibrancy of local cultures, let us expertly navigate the challenges of literary translation. If you want to bring new media to the people of the Congo—whether that’s in the form of books, websites, poems, games, or apps—our team will gladly translate your creative texts for you.
To get started with Kongo languages translation services, send us a message today!