Language Scientific provides high quality Xhosa language services, supplying technical, medical and scientific translation, localization and interpreting into and out of Xhosa. We are a US-based language services company serving over 1,500 global corporations. Our specialization, focus, industry-leading quality management standards and customer-centered attitude have earned us the trust of many of the world’s best technology, engineering, biomedical and pharmaceutical companies.

Our approach to translation quality management is founded on the principle that engineering documents should be translated by professional translators who are also engineers, and medical documents need to be translated by linguists trained in the medical sciences. We use a combination of advanced people, certified processes and applied technologies to deliver you a better translations experience. We deliver reliable, high quality translations with confirmed turnaround times at competitive prices.

Language Scientific has two divisions—Technical and Engineering Localization and Translation Services Division and Medical and Pharmaceutical Localization and Translation Services Division. Both groups provide a full range of Xhosa language services to support your strategic global communication goals, including:

We offer a unique depth of subject-matter expertise via our Advanced Scientific Knowledge network (ASKnetwork™) and globalization know-how for companies in the Aerospace & Defense, Chemical, Clinical Research, Energy, Healthcare, Industrial Manufacturing, Medical Device, Pharmaceutical, Technology and related industries. Our ASKnetwork™ of over 5,000 specialists comprises multilingual engineers, doctors and scientists working in over 75 countries on 5 continents.

Language Scientific’s unique Accreditation Program for Technical and Medical Translators, along with a rigorous Quality Management System, ensures the quality standards that our clients have come to depend on. Language Scientific is an ISO 9001:2008 and EN 15038:2006 certified company. We work closely with you to tailor a solution to best fit your needs.

At Language Scientific, we are driven by the mission to set the new Standard of Quality for technical translation and localization. It is this mission that drives our success and sets us apart as a company. When you need precise global communication, Language Scientific is the clear choice.

Xhosa Language Statistics/Facts:

Xhosa (formerly spelled Xosa) is an official language of South Africa, natively spoken by around 7.9 million people which is about around 18% of the population of South Africa.

By distribution over land, Xhosa is the most widely spoken African language (while Zulu is most widely spoken in terms of population).

One of the most distinctive features of Xhosa is the use of “click consonants” which makes it easily recognised. There are 3 basic types of click consonant used in the language: dental (written as “c”), paletal (“q”) and lateral (“x”) although each of these is sub-divided into 6 sounds denoted by combination with other linguistic features such as aspiration and nasality to provide a rich, unique soundscape.

It should be noted that while Xhosa is almost overwhelmingly spoken only in South Africa, there are pockets of the language active throughout the world as Xhosa speakers have emigrated. For example, in the US only 14% of the nearly 79,000 immigrants from South Africa are black and although there are no figures to indicate the percentage of those who speak Xhosa, given that 18% of the initial population are Xhosa-speaking, it is possible to give a rough estimate of around 2000 Xhosa speakers in the US.

Xhosa Dialects:

Dialect Region
Mpondo (Pondo) Pondoland (a sub-region of the northern coastal region of the Eastern Cape Province in South Africa).
Xesibe Former Transkei, South Africa
Gaika (Ngqika) Former Ciskei
Thembu Thembuland (an area between Umtata & Tsomo River)
Hlubi Former Ciskei
Gcaleka Former Transkei, South Africa
Bhaca Former Transkei, Mount Frere and Umzimkhulu
Mfengu Mfenguland (south west of the former Transkei, South Africa)

Countries where Xhosa is spoken:

  • Australia
  • Lesotho
  • Swaziland
  • Botswana
  • New Zealand
  • United Kingdom
  • Canada
  • South Africa

Xhosa Speaking Country Data:

Country: South Africa

Capital: Cape Town
Population: 54,988,955
Constitutional Parliamentary Republic: President Jacob Zuma
Currency: South African Rand (ZAR)
GDP (ppp): $350.6 b
Unemployment: 25.2%
Government Type: Constitutional Parliamentary Republic
Industries: Automotive, mining, minerals, tourism, information technology, communication, electronics, chemicals, and agriculture

Xhosa History

The early history of the Xhosa language traces the Xhosa as part of the Nguni-speaking tribes from the Great Lakes region, in slow migration to the area populated by the Khoisan hunter-gatherers.

The existence of click consonants in the Xhosa language strongly points to their being borrowed from the Khoisan language root as nearly all languages containing consonant click share a common Khoisan (Khoekhoe) origin.

The history extends prior to the sixteenth century where the ethnic group who are native speakers of the language existed in the seaboard regions of southern Africa, and were well-established prior to the Dutch arrival during the seventeenth century.

During the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries the British colonial forces pushed the Xhosa-speaking clans east and the expansion of the Zulus scattered them still further west, leading to the broad disposition of Xhosa speakers.

The speakers of Xhosa refer to themselves as amaXhosa; the language they refer to isiXhosa, while the anglicised corruption of that word (Xhosa) is how the language is commonly known.

As the southernmost of the Nguni languages (including such languages as Zulu, Swati and Northern Ndebele), Xhosa shares certain features and an amount of inter-intelligibility with the others. In a larger sense these languages are also part of the Bantu language group and are, as such, related to many of the languages spoken across Africa as a whole.

In modern times the Xhosa language has, following the various political changes and conflicts in the area, borrowed heavily from both English and Afrikaans.

Under apartheid adult literacy rates were as low as 30% in first-language Xhosa speakers; this rose to 50% by 1996, and there are continuing improvements.

These days Xhosa is used as a teaching language only in primary and some secondary schools, but is displaced by English and Afrikaans by later-secondary and tertiary education even in communities, which are mostly Xhosa-speaking. Xhosa is also taught as a subject for both native and non-native speakers.

Newspapers, magazines, poetry and prose are available in Xhosa. The South Africa Broadcasting Corporation includes radio and television broadcasts in Xhosa; there are films, plays and music also produced in the Xhosa language.

Interesting Swahili and Kiswahili Facts:

    • X, Q & C denotes click consonants
    • Xhosa is a tonal language utilising High and Low phonemic tones
    • The word “ubuntu” (approximately meaning compassion & humanity) from the Xhosa language is used as the name of one of the most popular Linux Distributions
    • The word “Xhosa” is derived from the Khoisan word meaning “angry men”
    • Alternative names and spellings for Xhosa include Isixhosa, Xosa, Koosa, Kaffer, Kaffir, Caffre, Cafre, Cauzuh

Contact Us

Please call us at 1-617-621-0940 or email us at info@languagescientific.com to find out how Language Scientific can help you meet your translation requirements.