Meet Mazhun Idris, Hausa language activist

Photo provided by Mazhun Idris.

In 2019 as part of a social media campaign to celebrate linguistic diversity online, African language activists and advocates will be taking turns managing the @DigiAfricanLang Twitter account to share their experiences with the revitalization and promotion of African languages. This profile post is about Mazhun Idris (@HausaTranslator) and what he plans to discuss during his week as host.

Rising Voices: Please tell us about yourself.

I am a freelance localization professional, a sociolinguist, and a web search analyst with fifteen years of career. I am both an entrepreneurial and volunteer linguist with several media and tech organizations. I am a bilingual author and editor, who published academic research on Hausa orthography and Nigerian social media spaces. With a degree in economics and proficiency certificates in Hausa and Arabic languages, I was previously an executive in a media communication firm in Nigeria. I have also served as supervisor and cultural adaptation specialist for content marketing, advert placements, TV, radio programs, and social media blogs. I was once the a Country Advisor for CIRF Project by Zephyr Institute in Washington DC, where I advised on religious freedom online advocacy targeting Hausa-speaking West Africa, and managed the project’s Hausa language social media channels for one year. I am a member of American Translators Association, and the Nigeria Institute of Translators and Interpreters.




RV: What is the current status of your language on the internet and offline?

Hausa enjoys a lot of attention due to its wide usage in a dozen countries, the high number of Hausa users on digital platforms such as news blogs and social media, and the ongoing conflicts in the Hausa-speaking parts of the world. There are different projects on Hausa language including by giant digital companies like Facebook, Nokia, and Amazon. The following are a few organizations I have consulted for on Hausa language and culture, such as Datamundi – Neerlinter, Appen Global – Australia, Visual Data Media Services – Hollywood, USAID/Breakthrough ACTION Nigeria, and – London.

RV: On what topics do you plan to focus during the week that you’ll manage the @DigiAfricanLang Twitter account?

  • Info about academic papers on Academia (Hausa and general linguistics)
  • African language online resources (Hausa and more)
  • Links to Twitter threads on African language, debates, and lessons.
  • History, sayings, trivia

RV: What are the main motivations for your digital activism for your language? What are your hopes and dreams for your language?

Hausa language will have strong online corpora, online translation tools, digital dictionaries, and app localization.

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