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What institutions recruit interpreters (staff and freelance) in Africa, where are they and what languages do they use? And which cities have healthy private conference interpreting markets?

asked 18 Nov '14, 05:08

Andy's gravatar image


Hi Andy,

I am not sure the information I will provide is still up-to-date but this is what I know.

The African Union is located in Addis-abeba, Ethiopia and has 3AR, 1ENG, 1FR, and 3PT. These are the AU's official languages. It regularly employs freelancers who have an AB combo from across Africa or wherever they can find them.. I, every now and then, receive offers from them for gigs of no longer than four to five days.

The African Developpment Bank is located in Abidjan, Côte d'Ivoire and works mainly with English&French as their official languages and occasionnally uses Arabic and Portugese. I don't know what the interpretation structure is though..

The Bank for Investment and Development (EBID) of the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) is based in Lomé, Togo and has 4FR, 4ENG and normally 2PT. I don't know about freelancers..

The ICTR in Arusha, Tanzania also hires interpreters. I don't know the specifics..

They are the main institutions that employ CIs in Africa but the private market is pretty vibrant from what I understand. Senegal seems to be where lots of international conferences take place, and where manyfreelancers works.

Just as in virtually all private markets, You need an AB combo in order to make a living. Training being almost non-existent, the offer grossly outstrips the supply. However, on account of the recent Ebola outbreak, the market has been somewhat disrupted.. Even well-established colleagues struggle.

There is a lack of CIs in Africa, and interpreters often have to be flown over from Europe to cover the needs. The EU Africa project, as you may know, aims at filling this gap and provide training in FR, ENG, AR, PT to aspiring African interpreters.

I hope this helps! :)


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answered 12 Jan '15, 17:46

angabongo's gravatar image


thanks Chris ..

(13 Jan '15, 10:26) Andy
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question asked: 18 Nov '14, 05:08

question was seen: 13,904 times

last updated: 13 Jan '15, 10:26 is a community-driven website open to anyone with questions and/or answers about interpreting, i.e. spoken language translation

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