Language Practitioner

Language practitioners render specialised language and communication services over a broad spectrum of fields, for example, interpreting, translating, language training, copywriting, creative writing, language research, publicity, development of literary and language programmes, developing computer assisted language packages and providing organisations with language-related advice.

South Africa has 11 official languages, which means language practitioners are needed at all levels in the public and private sectors. Institutions such as Parliament, the State Language Services, the National Terminology Services, provincial governments, the CSIR, HSRC, SABC, universities and universities of technology all make extensive use of language practitioners, as do private institutions such as banks, insurance companies and the media.

Language practitioners in African languages, English and Afrikaans are usually in high demand, but those with other languages such as French, German, Portuguese, Arabic, Italian, Russian and Spanish are also needed.

How to Enter

Schooling & School Subjects

  • National Senior Certificate meeting degree requirements for a degree course
  • National Senior Certificate meeting diploma requirements for a diploma course
Each institution has its own entry requirements.

What to Study

Degree: BA in Languages - most universities.Language Practice - UFS, Applied Language Studies - Wits, NMMU, Linguistics - RU, UKZN, US, UZ, Wits, UJ, UNISA.

Diploma: Language Practice - CUT, DUT and VUT.


  • any sector where language and general communication services are rendered
  • schools and universities
  • non-governmental organisations
  • banks and insurance companies
  • international political organisations
  • embassies and consulates
  • parliament and other government departments
  • tour agencies and the tourism industry
  • self-employment, if qualified and experienced enough, can start own enterprise

Further Information

The South African Translators’ Institute
P O Box 1710
Rivonia, 2128
Tel:(011) 803-2681 Fax: 086 619 9133

Department of International Relations and Cooperation
Private Bag X152
Pretoria, 0001
Tel: (012) 351-1000 Fax: (012) 329-1000

Getting Started

  • hone your language skills and practise interpreting and translating by listening to radio programmes in other languages
  • arrange to speak to language practitioners about this career and do holiday or part-time work

Programmes by Study Institutions

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