Translation and Localization for Africa: Sierra Leone

November 12, 2016 Ahmed Mossad El-Saba

Sierra Leone, officially known as the Republic of Sierra Leone, is a country famous for diamond reserves in the western coast of Africa. It has borders with Guinea to the north, Liberia to the southeast, and the Atlantic Ocean to the southwest.

Sierra Leone was dominated by the coastal tribes for long decades, and its location was occupied for more than 2500 years.

Sierra Leone Demographics

  • The population is six million.
  • The capital is Freetown, with just over one million people.
  • Sierra Leone got its independence from the UK on April 27th, 1961.
  • It is a Presidential Republic.
  • The current President is Ernest Bai Koroma (since September 17th, 2007).

Languages of Sierra Leone

  • English is the official spoken language at schools and government offices.
  • Krio as the most widely spoken language across the country and is spoken by 97% of the population.
  • The language of Krio unites all the different ethnic groups in Sierra Leone which exceed 16 groups, particularly in their trade and interaction with each other.

Sierra Leone Culture

  • In 1787, the British philanthropists founded "Province of Freedom" which later became Freetown, and was the principal base for the repression of the slave trade.
  • The word Sierra means "a mountain chain" and Leon means "lion."
  • The national symbol for the country is the lion, and the national colors are green, white, and blue.
  • There are 18 ethnic groups: the Temne in the north and the Mende in the South are the largest.

Sierra Leone Consumers

The economic development of Sierra Leone has been hindered by a great dependence on the mineral exploitation. The government and the people rely on gold and diamonds to generate foreign investments. The economy could be described as "exploitative" and depends upon the extraction of unsustainable resources.

Roughly two-thirds of Sierra Leone's population work in agriculture, and agriculture accounts for approximately 58% of national GDP.

Since 1930, when diamonds were discovered in Sierra Leone, there have been many resources devoted to searching for diamonds, but the weakness of its central authority due to political crises has led to passing this wealth to the hands of rebels.

Future & Conclusion

The economic and political institutions in Sierra Leone are fragile and present little optimism for long-term economic development. Recent reforms have been targeted to international trade and strong enforcement of contracts. The country continues to tackle the daunting challenge of strengthening integrity in the management of its natural resources, mainly diamonds, due to the fact that Sierra Leone is one of the top ten nations producing diamonds.

Translation and Localization Resources

You may gain further insight into global e-business, global SEO and website translation and country specific cultural facts and related topics by reviewing some previous blogs written by GPI:

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About the Author

Ahmed Mossad El-Saba

Ahmed is a native Arabic speaker from Cairo, Egypt. He has over 12 years’ experience in the translation and localization field working as a Hebrew – Arabic translator and editor. He has also held positions for language Testing Engineer and Localization Project Manager. Ahmed has extensive experience in handling large volume translation projects for software and document localization. He has worked for a range of translation and localization groups and companies including Microsoft and several governmental authorities. He holds a B.A. degree in Translation and Interpreting from Faculty of Alsun Ain Shams University and additionally is a certified Hebrew - Arabic translator with a High Translation professional diploma from the same faculty.

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