Deciphering the Pashto Language Code

One of the two official languages of Afghanistan (the mother tongue of 45–60% of the total population) and the second-largest regional language of Pakistan, Pashto is spoken by 45–60 million people worldwide. Pakistan’s Federally Administered Tribal Areas (FATA) are almost 100% Pashto-speaking, and Pashto is the majority language of the province of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa and the northern districts of Balochistan.

Pashto has become a marker of ethnic identity and a symbol of official nationalism for Afghans since 1920’s. It is a common misconception that presenting products/services in English would be comprehensible and appealing to the Afghan audience. Like any other target locale where English is not the mother tongue, Afghans tend to trust, engage with, and buy products & services presented to them in their native tongue.

Moreover, Afghanistan import regulations mandates translating all documents to either Pashto or Dari, the two official languages in Afghanistan.

With the rebuilding of Afghanistan, the demand to translate to Pashto is skyrocketing. Whether you are applying for funding with the various UN and international agencies or willing to seize the many investment opportunities, you need your application, marketing copy, and technical documents translated to Pashto, and only an experienced language service provider can deliver high-quality Pashto translation services.

When relying on dbGroup for your Pashto translation/localization needs, you no longer need to worry about your application for funding getting rejected due to poor translation and you can penetrate the Afghan market with confidence.

Hiring qualified Pashto native-speaking linguists can be daunting. Pashto language has long suffered from lack of resources and development, and professional Pashto linguists with adequate experience and subject-matter knowledge are not easy to find.

Throughout almost a quarter of a century of experience in the translation industry, dbGroup has built a vast network of highly qualified Pashto translators. We scrutinize linguists before they join our team, making sure they have not only excellent academic credentials but also proven expertise in the relevant subject matter.

Ready to Tap into the Untapped Market?

A population of over 36 million, with more than 60% under 25 years old, the younger Afghan generations are welcoming Internet penetration and mobile phones with open arms. The overall mobile penetration is 80% and expected to reach 95% by 2021.

This is also evident in the number of Internet users jumping from 300,000 in 2006 to more than 4 million users in 2016, with 1.5 million active users of social media, mostly in Pashto or Dari.

With the telecommunication industry in Afghanistan rapidly flourishing, the need for technical translation to Pashto is on the rise. As much as this boom in the telecom industry offers great business opportunities as it creates challenges for Pashto translators. The development of the Pashto language still cannot keep pace with the new terms coined in telecom industry; even terms like software and hardware don’t have equivalents in Pashto. Moreover, when translating from English to Pashto the text can expand by up to 35%, which might pose technical hurdles.

At dbGroup, our Pashto translators are armed with groundbreaking CAT tools and terminology management software. With the latest technologies along with our translators’ expertise and outstanding language and research skills, we overcome the technical and linguistic challenges of Pashto technical translations, delivering translations that can’t be more accurate.


So You Speak Pashto, but Do You Speak Pashtunwali?

Pashtun culture is unique; only an in-country native speaker can understand the intricacies of societal, religious, and cultural beliefs in Afghanistan. The cultural differences between the urban larger cities and the rural areas add to the challenge, requiring deep understanding of the target audience to be able to culturally adapt your text to Pashto.

Besides customizing the cultural nuances like currency, metrics, and calendar (for example, Afghanistan follows the Solar Hijri calendar), extensive knowledge of Pashtunwali is vital to tailor Pashto translations to the preferences and norms of your target audience; this is particularly crucial if the target locale is the rural areas in Afghanistan. Pashtunwali is a non-written ethical code and traditional lifestyle that the indigenous Pashtun people follow. Pashtunwali is widely practiced among Pashtuns: In addition to being practiced by members of the Pashtun diaspora, it has been adopted by some non-Pashtun Afghans and Pakistanis that live in the Pashtun regions or close to the Pashtuns, who have gradually become Pashtunized over time.

Unlike other language service providers that hire Pashto translators from Pakistan, at dbGroup we realize that language mastery is not enough and only an in-country native-speaking linguist can grasp the subtle cultural differences that can make or break your endeavors to successfully penetrate a new market.

Not only do we make sure that your translation/localization project is assigned to in-country native-speaking linguists with relevant subject-matter expertise, but also we strictly implement a rigorous quality assurance process, delivering flawless translations.

We have the resources and wide network of linguists that enable us to cater to almost all industries such as Life Sciences, Military, Legal, and IT & Telecom, offering a comprehensive set of services such as software localization, multimedia and website localization, and desktop publishing.