This page displays a number of word and phrase lists as requested by visitors to this site in the past. If you require any other general similar phrases let me know and I'll try to get it or refer you to translators who can help.

South Africa is regarded as a multicultural and multilingual country with eleven official languages. A lot has been done by the government through legislation and the establishment of the Pan South African Language Board (PanSALB) in order to promote local languages. Yet even more can still be done to promote and use all the languages.

Equal use of the official languages does not imply every public notice or sign in eleven languages, yet in some cases this might be necessary. Luckily due to the fact that some languages are related some terms are similar as with this stop sign (right). The following has been used: "stop" from Afrikaans and English; "jama" from isiNdebele; "tshitopo" from Tshivenda; "yima" from isiZulu, isiXhosa and Xitsonga; "ema" from Sesotho, Sesotho sa Leboa (Northern Sotho) and Setswana; and "mani" from siSwati. Multilingualism has not caught on to this degree and in general translations are only made where there is a real need. Hopefully this site can help.

English: Welcome
Afrikaans: Welkom
IsiNdebele: Siyaalemukela
Northern Sotho: Kamogelo (noun) / Amogela (verb)
Sesotho: Kamohelo (noun) / Amohela (verb)
Setswana: Kamogelo (noun) / Amogela (verb)
SiSwati: Sondzela
Xitsonga: U amukeriwile (singular form) / Mi amukeriwile (plural form)
Tshivenda: Vho tanganedzwa (note that there should be a ^ symbol under the "t" in the second word) / Vho tanganedziwa kha *
(Welcome to *)
IsiXhosa: Ulwamkelo (noun) / Amkela (verb)
IsiZulu: Ukwemukela (noun) / Emukela (verb)

English: Thank you
Afrikaans: Dankie
IsiNdebele: Ngiyathokoza
Sesotho: Ke a leboha
Northern Sotho: Ke a leboga
Setswana: Ke a leboga
SiSwati: Siyabonga
Xitsonga: Inkomu
Tshivenda: Ndo livhuwa / Ro livhuwa
IsiXhosa: Enkosi
IsiZulu: Ngiyabonga

English: Hello
Afrikaans: Goeiedag / Hallo
IsiNdebele: Lotjhani
Sesotho: Dumela (singular) / Dumelang (plural)
Northern Sotho: Dumela (singular) / Dumelang (plural)
Setswana: Dumela (singular) / Dumelang (plural)
SiSwati: Sawubona
Xitsonga: Avuxeni
Tshivenda: Ndaa (male) / Aa (female)
IsiXhosa: Molo (singular) / Molweni (plural)
IsiZulu: Sawubona (singular) / Sanibonani (plural)

English: Goodbye
Afrikaans: Totsiens
IsiNdebele: Usale kuhle (stay well) / Uhambe kuhle (go well)
Sesotho: Sala hantle (stay well) / Tsamaya hantle (go well)
Northern Sotho: Sala gabotse (stay well) / Sepela gabotse
Setswana: Sala sentle (stay well) / Tsamaya sentle (go well)
SiSwati: Sala kahle (stay well) / Hamba kahle (go well)
Xitsonga: Salani
Tshivenda: Kha vha sale zwavhudi
IsiXhosa: Sala kakuhle (stay well) / Hamba kakuhle (go well)
IsiZulu: Sala kahle (stay well) / Hamba kahle (go well)

English: No smoking
Afrikaans: Rook verbode
IsiNdebele: Akubhenywa
Sesotho: Ha ho tsubiwe
Northern Sotho: Ga go kgogwe
Setswana: Ga go tsubiwe
SiSwati: Akubhenywa
Xitsonga: A ku dzhahiwi
Tshivenda: A hu dahiwi
IsiXhosa: Akutshaywa
IsiZulu: Akubhenywa

English: No entrance
Afrikaans: Geen ingang
IsiNdebele: Akungenwa
Sesotho: Ha ho kenwe
Northern Sotho: Ga go tsenwe
Setswana: Ga go tsenwe
SiSwati: Akungenwa
Xitsonga: A ku ngheniwi
Tshivenda: A hu dzhenwi
IsiXhosa: Akungenwa
IsiZulu: Akungenwa

English: Mind the step
Afrikaans: Pasop vir die trap
IsiNdebele: Tjheja la ugadanga khona
Sesotho: Hlokomela setepisi
Northern Sotho: Hlokomela distepse
Setswana: Tlhokomela fa o gatang teng
SiSwati: Caphela sitebhisi
Xitsonga: Xiya-xiya xitepisi
Tshivenda: Vha vhone tshit^episi (^ under the preceding t)
IsiXhosa: Lumkela isinyuko
IsiZulu: Qaphela isitebhisi

English: Caution!
Afrikaans: Pasop!
IsiNdebele: Yelela!
Sesotho: Hlokomela!
Northern Sotho: Ela tlhoko!
Setswana: Ela tlhoko
SiSwati: Caphela!
Xitsonga: Tivonele!
Tshivenda: Vha thogomele! (^ under the t)
IsiXhosa: Lumka!
IsiZulu: Qaphela!

English: Happy Birthday
Afrikaans: Veels geluk met jou verjaarsdag
IsiNdebele - Ilanga elimnandi lamabeletho
Northern Sotho - Mahlatse letšatšing la matswalo
Sesotho - Letsatsi le monate la tswalo
SiSwati - Lusuku lwekutalwa loluhle
Xitsonga -Ndzi tlangela siku ro velekiwa
Tswana - Masego a Letsatsi la Matsalo
Tshivenda - Duvha la mabebo lavhudi (write with ^ under the d's)
IsiXhosa - Min'emnandi yokuzalwa
IsiZulu - Usuku lokuzalwa oluhle

English: Season's Greetings
Afrikaans: Seisoengroete
IsiNdebele: Izilokotho Ezihle Zamaholdeni
Sesotho: Ditakaletso tse Molemo
Northern Sotho: Ditumedišo tša Sehla sa Maikhutšo
Setswana: Ditumediso tsa setlha
Siswati: Tilokotfo letinhle kulesikhatsi semnyaka
Xitsonga: Mikateko ya Masiku yo Wisa
Tshivenda: Ni vhe na nwaha wavhu^di (^ add this symbol below the preceding letter)
IsiXhosa: Imibuliso Yelixesha Lonyaka
IsiZulu: Izilokotho Ezinhle Zamaholide

English: Merry Christmas
Afrikaans: Geseënde Kersfees
IsiNdebele: Ukresimusi omnandi
Sesotho: Keresemese e monate
Northern Sotho: Mahlogonolo a Keresemose
Setswana: Masego a Keresemose
SiSwati: Khisimusi lomuhle
Xitsonga: A ku ve Khisimusi lerinene
Tshivenda: D^uvha l^a mabebo a Murena l^avhud^i (^ add this symbol below the preceding letter)
IsiXhosa: Krisimesi emnandi
IsiZulu: Ukhisimusi omuhle

English: Merry Christmas and a happy New Year
Afrikaans: Geseënde Kersfees en voorspoedige Nuwejaar
IsiNdebele: Ukresimusi omnandi nonyaka omutjha omuhle
Sesotho: Keresemese e monate le mahlohonolo a selemo se setjha
Northern Sotho: Mahlogonolo a Keresemose le ngwaga wo moswa wo monate
Setswana: Masego a Keresemose le Boitumelo mo Ngwageng o Mošwa
SiSwati: Khisimusi lomuhle kanye neMnyaka lomusha lonenjabulo
Xitsonga: A ku vi Khisimusi lerinene naswona a ku vi lembe lerintshwa lerinene
Tshivenda: D^uvha l^a mabebo a Murena na N.waha muswa zwavhud^i (^ or . add these symbols to the preceding letter)
IsiXhosa: Krisimesi emnandi nonyaka omtsha onamathamsanqa
IsiZulu: Ukhisimusi omuhle nonyaka omusha onenjabulo

© J. Olivier (2009)