Located at the crossroads of Central, Southern, and East Africa we find the landlocked country of Zambia, home to more than 17 million people. Like most countries in Africa, Zambia covers the lands of various ethnic groups, each speaking their own language. To ensure smooth interethnic communication, Zambia uses English, the language of the country’s former colonizer, as the official language and lingua franca. But most Zambians don’t speak English as their first language—the most widely spoken native language in Zambia is Bemba.
Bemba (which may also be called Chibemba, based on Bantu naming conventions) is spoken by roughly 33% of the Zambian population, as well as in the southeastern Katanga region of the Democratic Republic of the Congo and parts of Tanzania. It’s one of seven languages in Zambia that receives official recognition. Even though Bemba is widely spoken in urban areas of the country (although not the capital, Lusaka, where Chichewa is preferred) and is promoted throughout Zambia, finding high-quality translation services for the language can be a chore. That is, until we at TranslationServices.com put together our Bemba translation team.
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Let’s explore the biggest native language in Zambia: Bemba!
Bemba’s several million speakers are mostly concentrated in Zambia, where the language constitutes an important lingua franca (alongside English). Most Bemba speakers live in the northeastern portion of the country, with other areas speaking other indigenous languages. Like all other languages indigenous to Zambia, Bemba comes from the Bantu subfamily (a branch of the larger Niger–Congo language family), which means it’s related to other well-known African languages such as Swahili, Zulu, and Xhosa.
As a Bantu language, Bemba features a complex noun class system, strongly prefers prefixes to suffixes, and is highly agglutinative. It also shares its word order with English: subject-verb-object. Each Bemba noun class includes its own prefixes—one for singular and one for plural—as well as concord prefixes for both numbers. These concords are prefixes that are attached to adjectives, demonstratives, verbs, and other modifiers to indicate reference to the respective noun. Bemba verbs are complicated, too—with markers for both subject and object as well as tense, aspect, mood, voice, negation, and even conjunction, Bemba verbs are complex and densely packed with grammatical information.
What kind of Bemba translation services are you seeking?
If you think Bemba sounds hard, don’t worry—our professional Bemba translators don’t! With Bemba as their native language, our translators are passionate about translating content between Bemba and English. In fact, we cover a wide range of content, both to and from Bemba. Even speciality content, such as historical documents in Bemba or traditional folklore that you want to share with people in other countries, are no problem for our team. When translating into Bemba, we cover just as much material—everything from business documents meant to help you set up a presence in Zambia, to pedagogical materials that encourage education in Zambians’ native language, to books, games, websites, apps, and other interesting content that allow Bemba speakers to enjoy great works in their mother tongue.
Want to get started with Bemba translation services? So do we! Contact us today with the details of your needs.