Swahili voice-over production made simple
As an established Swahili voice-over agency, Matinée has been providing a professional Swahili Voice-Over Service and Swahili Subtitling Service for over 25 years. We offer a selection of the very best Swahili voice talent, at a price you can afford.
Whether you are looking for Swahili voice-over artists for documentary, advertising, eLearning, or telephone messaging, we’ll supply the best Swahili voice talent for the job. We’ll time-sync the selected Swahili voice-over to picture, and deliver the audio back in the file format of your choice. Or, we can lay back the Swahili audio onto your video and re-work the captions where necessary.
Check out our FAQs for more information and costs. To check the availability of our Swahili voice-artists and to confirm costs, please contact us today using the quick Quote form opposite. Or you can email firstname.lastname@example.org or call on +44(0)118 958 4934.
Voice-over selection and quotation in just three easy steps
1. browse the voice-over demos below and click PLAY to audition each casting sample
2. choose the voice(s) you like and click ADD to your Quick Quote, or DOWNLOAD a copy
3. complete the Quick Quote and we’ll check availability and costs, with a response in just 1 hour
A short history of the Swahili language
Swahili (or Kiswahili) belongs to the Bantu sub-group of the Atlantic-Congo branch of the Niger-Congo family of languages. It is spoken widely in East and Central Africa.
The spread of the language along the Swahili Coast is believed to date back to at least the 6th century. The earliest written examples of Swahili are thought to be some letters sent from the Kilwa region to the Portuguese in Mozambique in 1711. The epic Swahili poem, ‘Utendi wa Tambuka’ (history of Tambuka), dates back to 1728 and is written using the Arabic script.
Swahili has been greatly influenced by Arabic from centuries of trade and settlement along the east coast of Africa. It is estimated that around 35% of Swahili vocabulary derives from Arabic. Colonisation by, and trade with, other countries has also had an impact on the development of Swahili, with words borrowed from English, German, French and Hindi.
When Germany colonised present-day Tanzania in 1886, Swahili was designated as the official administrative language, and this policy was later adopted by Britain throughout its East African colonies. The standard version of Swahili was established in 1928, based on the Zanzibar dialect. Read more
Which countries have Swahili as a national language?
Swahili is an official language in Tanzania, Kenya and Uganda (along with English in all three countries). In the Democratic Republic of the Congo, Swahili is one of four national languages (French is the official language).
Swahili is one of the official languages of the African Union.
How many people speak Swahili as their first language?
It is estimated that approximately five million people speak Swahili as their first language. However, it is commonly spoken as a second or third language (it is the second most widely used language in Africa, after Arabic), and the total number of speakers is around 140 million.
As well as Tanzania, Kenya, Uganda and the Democratic Republic of the Congo, other countries with large Swahili-speaking populations include Rwanda, Burundi, Somalia, Zambia, Malawi and Mozambique.
Did you know…
- There are around 15 main Swahili dialects – the major ones are Kiunguia (spoken on Zanzibar and mainland areas of Tanzania, and the basis for standard Swahili), Kimvita (spoken in parts of Kenya) and Kiamu (spoken on the island of Lamu).
- The name Kiswahili comes from the Arabic word ‘sawāhili’ which, used as an adjective, means ‘coastal dwellers’. The ‘ki-’ at the beginning gives it the meaning ‘coastal language’.
- Swahili words that have been borrowed from English include baiskeli (bicycle), basi (bus), penseli (pencil), mashine (machine) and koti (coat).
The East African economy
Here is a summary of three of the main Swahili-speaking countries’ economies:
Tanzania – although Tanzania is one of the world’s poorest countries in terms of per capita income, tourism and gold production have contributed to high overall growth rates. The agriculture sector employs 80% of the workforce and accounts for 85% of exports.
Kenya – Kenya has East Africa’s largest economy, and is the region’s hub for finance, communication and transport. It has a comparatively well-developed social and physical infrastructure, and is a popular choice for businesses wishing to enter the African market.
Uganda – another one of the world’s poorest countries, Uganda does, however, have potential for rapid economic growth due to its wealth of natural resources (fertile land, oil and mineral deposits). Around 80% of the workforce is employed in agriculture.