Igbo, also called Ibo, is a language spoken in West Africa, mainly in the southeastern region of Nigeria. It is the native language of the Igbo people. As of the time of writing this, the Igbo language has around 30 million native speakers. This article highlights the 5 best online tools to translate English to Igbo.
What is the Igbo language?
Igbo is the official mode of communication for the Igbo (Ibo) people residing in the southeastern parts of Nigeria. According to 2020 statistics, Igbo has 30 million native speakers.
Out of this 30 million, 18 million to 25 million are estimated to be from or currently residing in southeastern Nigeria (Igboland).
Which countries speak the Igbo language?
The native and major speakers of the Igbo language are found in Igboland, which is the southeastern part of Nigeria. Igbo is also spoken in some other parts of the country, but not as common and fluent as in Igboland.
Igbo is also spoken in Equatorial Guinea, Cameroon, Haiti, Barbados, Belize, Trinidad and Tobago. Some people in Jamaica (Jamaican Patois) also pick some wordings from the Igbo language.
TLDR: Here are the major countries that speak the Igbo language:
- Trinidad and Tobago
- Equatorial Guinea
5 Best online tools to translate English to Igbo
Here are the best tools to translate Igbo:
1. Google Translate
If you own an Android device, you can download and install the Google Translate app from the Google Play Store. If you own an iOS device, you can download and install Google Translate on the Apple App Store.
You can also use Google Translate on a web browser by visiting the website. It is currently one of the most accurate free language translators on the internet.
Google Translate supports and can translate more than 109 languages. This includes English and Igbo language. Aside from being usable across multiple devices, it can convert plain text, documents, speech, and web pages from English to Igbo and vice versa, all within a minute.
This feature is useful if your keyboard does not have the letters or symbols that you want to translate. It can translate the transcribed letters/symbols drawn on the phone screen without the assistance of a keyboard.
Mobile Application Translation
Google Translate works with any other app on the mobile. It has a feature known as Tap to Convert. This feature allows for easy translation inside any app without exiting or changing it.
Google Translate can translate a whole webpage from English to Igbo and vice-versa. All you need to do is download the browser extension from the Chrome web store.
It converts the document submitted in English To Igbo and vice-versa. It supports many document formats, including doc, Docx, Xls, xlsx, odf, pdf, ppt, pptx, ps, RTF and txt.
Google Translate can also convert spoken English language into Igbo if your device has a microphone. It is also helpful with hard enunciation.
This feature will allow Google Translate to recognize and convert the text in a photo and translate it into the Igbo language.
Whenever you download the Google Translate app and you’re launching for the first time, you will be prompted to download and install the language data.
There’s an option that allows you to tick mark the translate offline box. This feature will allow you to download the Igbo and English languages onto your device. With this, you can still translate without an internet connection.
2. Microsoft Translator
If you’re using an Android device, you can download and install Microsoft Translator from the Google Play Store. If you’re using an iOS device, you can also download and install Microsoft Translator from the Apple App Store.
Microsoft Translator is a free, personal translation app for more than 70 languages. You can also use it to translate text, voice, conversations, camera photos, and screenshots from English to the Igbo language, and vice versa.
Although not as functional as Google Translate, Microsoft Translator has many features you will find useful. Here are some of them:
- Camera translation to translate text within photos and screenshots
- Voice translation to translate speech, and a split-screen mode for two participants having a bilingual conversation
- Searching alternate translations and meanings of a word to find the best translation to express yourself
- Download Igbo and English language for offline and use without an internet connection
- Hear your translated phrase out loud to help you learn how to say the translation
- Using it with other apps. Translate text in other apps through context menu translation
- Pin and save your most frequent translations for later
3. English to Igbo translation apps
There are many mobile and desktop applications that allow translation from English to the Igbo language and vice versa. You can find such apps on:
4. English to Igbo translation websites
Many websites allow people to translate from English to Igbo in a matter of seconds. Most of them don’t require users to log in or create an account. Just paste your text or upload a document to translate it.
5. Online human translators (on freelancing platforms)
There’s one thing about converting text and documents from one language to another (that many online tools won’t disclose). There’s usually a loss in the actual meanings or wordings as expressed in the original copy.
Although most online translation tools are fast, free, and easy to use, they’re all products of Artificial Intelligence. They’re all still undergoing machine learning and can never be 100% accurate, at least not anytime soon.
This is one of the reasons why it may not be safe to use online translation tools for professional or business reasons. Also, the Igbo language has many dialects and a machine may not recognize them all.
If you’re translating from English to Igbo for basic communication reasons, you can use online translation tools. However, if you will be translating important business or legal documents, it’s advisable that you hire a human to do the job.
Such a person should be a native Igbo speaker and also a fluent English speaker. You can hire such people on Fiverr, Upwork and many other freelancing and microtasking platforms.
Depending on the size and importance of the item you want to translate, you can hire for as low as $5 per hour.
Bonus: Dialects of the Igbo language
- Abam, and many more
This special language has many different dialects that are not often mutually intelligible to other Igbo speakers.
Since 1972, Igbo Izugbe (meaning: “General Igbo”) has been the standard used for the Igbo language. Igbo is written in the Latin alphabet introduced by British colonialists and missionaries.