THEME:  Kiswahili - A pillar of Unity, Education and Economic Development.

Frequent Asked Questions


The National Kiswahili Council does translations in different languages of the world. Some of the languages are Kiswahili, English, French, German, Portuguese, Italian, Arabic, Chinese, Japanese, Russian, Spanish, Turkish etc.

No, BAKITA has translators for English, Kiswahili, French, Portuguese and Arabic. For other languages we use external translators who are not employees of BAKITA. The translators are approved and work on behalf of the Council.

We offer translation services for birth certificates, school certificates, marriage certificates, death certificates etc. in different languages. We also offer translation services for different manuscripts, books, contract etc from English to Kiswahili and vice versa. We also review and approve translations done by external translators. The council also reviews translated works from English to Kiswahili at the cost of Tshs. 10,000/= per page. Before we accept such works we ensure that the translator is an expert and what we do is to correct slight grammatical and lexical errors. We never accept works which are erroneously translated to the extent that will require us to re-do the translation.
The customer is not allowed to do own translation even if he/she is proficient in the language, nor is he/she allowed to hire a translator who is not authorized by the Council. The council approves and stamps translations which have only been done by authorized translators.

Yes, we coordinate and offer interpretation and translation services in national and international conferences, and in activities conducted by companies, organizations and individuals. When a customer needs interpreters for a conference, he/she contacts us and we give him/her names of interpreters who he/she can contact for regulation and service charges.

The important tips are:
i. Type of the manuscript
ii. Structure of the manuscript
iii. Themes of the manuscript
iv. Formality of the language used
v. Use of writing conventions and mechanics
vi. Characters in the manuscript
vii. The target audience
viii. Feasibility of the manuscript

Prospective writers should:
i. Be knowledgeable on the subject matter they want to write on (prose, play, short story, poetry etc)
ii. Write a preliminary draft
iii. Consult BAKITA for editing and advice on the work
iv. Incorporate the changes recommended by BAKITA
v. Contact the publisher for contract agreements
vi. Publish the work

The ISBN is issued by the Central National Library to publishing houses, and the prospective writer shall obtain the number from a publisher with whom they enter into a contract agreement for publishing his/her book.

A publisher oversees the whole process of preparing a manuscript into a book, including observation of the regulations involved and safeguarding the rights of the writer. On the other hand, a printer receives a work prepared by a publisher and prints it as a book.

BAKITA does not publish books written by other authors; instead, the Council publishes its own books.

T BAKITA publishes different kinds of publication including the following: i. Different kinds of dictionary
ii. Grammar, Literature and the History of Kiswahili
iii. Books related to daily language use
iv. Standard Translation
v. Trilingual booklets
vi. Guidelines for writers
vii. Kiswahili books for foreigners

BAKITA publications are available in the following places:
i. BAKITA Offices
ii. Exhibitions, such as Sabasaba, Nanenane, Public Service Week etc.
iii. Meetings and Conferences related to Kiswahili Language and Tanzanian Culture

The Council uses different techniques to form and standardize new vocabulary items, including borrowing e.g. Computer- kompyuta; translation e.g. Free market-soko huria; acronyms e.g. UKIMWI - Ukosefu wa Kinga Mwilini; Clipping, which is very close to Acronyms e.g. Chajio – Chakula cha jioni; affixation e.g. A-na-som-a, som-wa, a-na-m-som-e-a, u-na-ye-m-som-e-a; extension/suffixation e.g. Som-a, som-e-a, som-w-a, som-ek-a, som-e-an-a; compounding e.g. mwanaanga, and reduplication e.g. polepole. However, in forming new vocabulary, another technique used is to resort to the Kiswahili treasures. This involves use of words from Kiswahili dialects like Kipemba, Kitumbatu, Kimrima, Kimvita etc. More vocabulary is also drawn from other Bantu and African languages and even from other foreign languages.

The created vocabulary is disseminated to users through the following ways:
i. Mass media: The Council uses such media as newspapers, radio and televisions to disseminate the created vocabulary. For example, the Council airs different television and radio programmes on Tanzania Broadcasting Corporation (TBC-Taifa), Redio One, Clouds, Radio Mlimani etc. and on TBC 1 whereby the Council uses the opportunity to disseminated new items and follows up their use. The Council also writes different articles on the Habari Leo Newspaper, to explain correct use of different Kiswahili terminologies in different contexts.
ii. Conventions of different Kiswahili stakeholders: The Council takes advantage of events which bring together different Kiswahili stakeholders e.g. conferences and workshops to advocate new items and also get feedback on their uses from the stakeholders.
iii. Books: The Council publishes different book editions which contain Kiswahili vocabulary so that the public can learn the vocabulary from the books.

The Council monitors use of the created vocabulary in the society by listening to the users in general and listening to the media to see that the words are used appropriately.

The Council checks the informality of the language by educating the society on the correct use of Kiswahili vocabulary. Education is provided through the mass media, and in some circumstances, by writing to the institution, organization or company that spoils the language, showing the words which are incorrectly used and how they can be used appropriately.

The Council has one Swahili Dictionary, which is the main Kiswahili dictionary, Dictionary of Kiswahili Vocabulary and other small field-specific dictionaries.

events which involve academicians and the general public. The events through which the Council advertises its activities include conferences, workshops, etc. The council also prepares flyers which explain the Council’s activities and distributes them to the public.

BAKITA stands for Baraza la Kiswahili la Taifa. The council was founded under the Parliamentary Law No. 27 of 1967 and its amendments of 1983.

The council offers services to distant customers through telephone, ordinary mail and e-mail.

The Council organizes special seminars and conferences for journalists in order to educate them on correct use of the language. Moreover, the Council has written different books, including a guideline for standard Swahili writers, whose aim is to help journalists to write appropriately and in accordance with writing conventions.

The Council has in place some regulations which give them power to impose fines or take measures against those who spoil the language. However, the measures follow after attempts by the Council to write to spoilers and meet them physically and explain the problem to them. If the situation persists after a third warning, legal measures take effect.

The Council maintains a data base of Kiswahili experts particularly teachers, translators and interpreters. Whenever needs arise, the Council uses the database to reach out the experts. However, the Council urges Tanzanians to be active and inquisitive enough to locate opportunities for Kiswahili experts especially through the internet.

The Council uses the mass media to educate the public on the correct language use. Moreover, the Council writes different books, including dictionaries, Lugha Yetu Journal and Jifunze Kiswhahili Uwafunze Wengine in order to help the public use the language correctly.

The Council has a department which deals with publications whose responsibilities include enabling talented individuals to write acceptable and attractive works of art.