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Reaching African Audiences in Their Mother Tongue: One Film’s Ongoing Legacy

In a continent with proved to be a herculean effort over 2,000 languages, communication in Africa can be a challenge. A pair of documentary filmmakers set out to celebrate the beauty of this diversity and the complexity of educating children in a multi-lingual environment. In an effort to make the film accessible to audiences across Africa, the makers of ‘Colours of the Alphabet,’ undertook incredible efforts to translate and distribute it. The duo began to build partnerships, by securing distribution with a not-for-profit distribution and streaming network called Afridocs. Afridocs broadcasts the best African and international documentaries for free to 49 countries in Africa by satellite and online. Then they partnered with Amara, a free-to-use global subtitling software platform. Together with the UK-based Screen Language services and the Institute of Translation and Interpreting, we created an online workshop to teach translation and subtitling. The process of translation is a highly skilled activity, and our workshops, delivered over two months, included video lessons as well as interactive exercises and feedback sessions with the course leader.