Mombasa Road, Nairobi, Kenya.

Localizing for Google into Swahili

Mpasua Msonobari at Google Headquarters 2bLocalization in Africa is gaining momentum day in day out. Many people confuse localization with translation. At Languages Africa, the languages service provider company that I founded in 1999, we pride ourselves at having localized over 200 million words in the close to two and a half decades that we have been in existence.

I remember as if it was yesterday when I got an email from a Google affiliated company on one chilly Monday morning. It was a handoff email for localizing some of the Google products and programs into Swahili. I read the email three times just to make sure that I got all the facts right in the handoff. As a seasoned Swahili translator and interpreter, I had learnt to always read between the lines in order to avoid dissapointing my clients. I wanted to make sure that I got the word count correct, the deadline correct, the instructions of localization correct, and the deliverables format correct.

No sooner had I finished to verify all those factors than I realized that they were to send yet another batch if I successfuly delivered this on time. A translator ceases to be a translator if he or she does not pay attention to such details. Remember, the devil is in the details.

That chilly Monday morning turned out to be a landmark morning for me when exactly 12 weeks later I found myself submitting the final deliverables with a smiling face. I had learnt to give much detail to the big localization projects but even so to give more details to the small localization projects. It was after doing several small tasks with the Google affiliated company that I finally had secured this huge Swahili localization project. Remember a journey of a thousand steps begins with one step.

We spent the next few days responding to the client's feedback regarding what we had submitted. You will notice that I have suddenly started using 'we'. I deliberately used 'we' because for me the success of any endavour really depends on the teamwork's spirit. As much as I was the lead Swahili translator or localizer if you like, I had worked with other success lines in our esteemed, exclusive African languages service provider - Languages Africa.

Many years later, on yet another chilly Monday morning, as I open my new supersonic HP laptop, it gives me great pleasure to receive automated Google messages written in Swahili. Not to mention also the tab Swahili which I see when I open my Google browser and do get a prompt if I want to browse using the Swahili language. Indeed, such a project like the Swahili localization of the Google products make me look back at the 22 years of service to my mother Africa and appreciate the immense contribution that translators and localizers allover the globe have put in in order to hel p the society to communicate effectively and efficiently in different online programs and platforms.

If you have any Swahili or Other African Languages Localization project, Languages Africa is here to help you walk through the entire project. We are just a phone call away! We help the Universe to Converse with Africa.

Mpasua Msonobari is the CEO and Founder of Languages Africa, a seasoned Swahili and other African languages translator and OPI & VRI interpreter who can be reached directly on his Whatsapp number +254 725 084 032 or you can simply shoot him an email at [email protected] or [email protected]

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