Translators Associations Africa: NATIE

Promoting translation in Ethiopia

Translators Association Africa: NATIEThe National Association of Translators and Interpreters of Ethiopia (NATIE), based in Addis Ababa, was founded with the purpose of promoting translation across Ethiopia as a scientific but also practical profession.

This African translators association has seen its number of members increase, as well as the variety of specialisations, backgrounds and inclinations of its associates. The range of translation areas covered by NATIE includes “medical, legal, finance, technical, scientific and literary fields”.

Ethiopia has a population of 75 million inhabitants. This huge crowd is divided in around 80 ethno-linguistic groups, with the impressive number of 200 tongues and dialects. For this reason, the founders of this translation association believe “Ethiopia has a lot to exchange with the outside world through the medium of translation”.

It is also referred by the people in charge of NATIE that there are “seven important cultural and natural heritage sites” classified by UNESCO in the country. They add to that the “13 literary heritages documented on parchments in ancient days and transmitted to this day through generations mostly under the custody of the Ethiopian Orthodox Church and the National Museum of Ethiopia”.

For NATIE, these distinctions have made the interest in Ethiopia raise over the past few years. They have attracted tourists, who have originated a “noticeable demand for translation services in foreign languages”. On the other hand, there has been an increase of Ethiopian communities abroad, “especially in parts of Western Europe, North America and the Middle East”, which foments the rise of translation services in local Ethiopian languages.

NATIE founders state that “enough hasn’t so far be done locally to meet” the needs for translation services in Ethiopian languages (“Amharic, Tigrinya and Oromo in particular”). To help change the landscape, NATIE is “committed to contributing its part to the development and standardization of the local translation practice”. One of its goals is to collaborate with translation companies, publishing houses, language resource centres and similar institutions and organisations.

At the moment, NATIE’s translators cover a considerable range of indigenous tongues (“Amharic, Oromo, Tigrinya, Guraginya, Afar, Somali, Wolaita etc”) as well as the most important international languages.

NATIE is interested in establishing collaborations with joint translation ventures through producing local language teaching aids, dictionaries and manuals, with any organisation interested in helping.

Keep in mind that Ethiopia has 200 tongues and dialects, of which 90 are considered individual languages. The main tongues are Amharic and Oromo. The main foreign language spoken by Ethiopians is English.

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