The African continent has come a long way in many respects. From being a continent many decades ago which was considered stagnant and divided, Africa has made great strides in economic, political and social development. Until the year 1999, the continents agenda was the responsibility of the Organisation of African Unity (OAU). In an effort to enhance African unity as well as accelerate economic and social development, the African Union (AU) came into being in 1999. The AU was tasked with accelerating the process of integration on the continent to enable Africa play its rightful role in the global economy while addressing multifaceted social, economic and political problems.
To complement the work of the African Union with regards to the southern part of Africa, an intergovernmental organisation called the Southern African Development Community (SADC) has been at the forefront. SADC is a 15 member states organisation which is concerned with fostering socio-economic cooperation and integration as well as political and security cooperation among member states.
Apart from the striking similarities in terms of the scope of work covered between the African Union and SADC, these two organisations also have membership which cuts across languages with both of them embracing the use of English, French and Portuguese in meetings. The interactive harmony in these two organisations is achieved by using interpreters and translators. These interpreters and translators perform the diplomatic task of intercultural and linguistic mediation. Translators working for both the AU and SADC are also involved in the revision and translation of documents from one language to the other.
These translators are also tasked with providing terminology guidelines and advice on the training in translation and on various suitable software, coordinate work and distribute documents as appropriate to ensure their translation and revision within set deadlines, issue detailed guidelines to other translators to ensure consistency and compliance with international standards as well as check and revise all texts to ensure accuracy in terms of content and form.
It is clear to see from the above information that the translation and interpretation industry is playing a crucial role in the development of the African continent.