About us

Past Perfect

Founded by Philip Zietsman in 1988, the Folio Group has grown from a tiny startup into the major-league language service provider that it is today. This is largely driven by our reputation for reliability, technical expertise, fast turnaround and meticulous accuracy. Folio is recognised around the world for its expertise in sourcing and providing African languages and all major Asian and Eastern European languages.

Since 1988, Folio has delivered translations and an evolving range of sophisticated language services that meet top international standards. Milestones along the way include:

Creative startup: Philip Zietsman leaves the world of academia to start Folio Translation Consultants in Cape Town, specialising in English > Afrikaans translations.

Early growth phase: Rapid response to demand for Portuguese and French translations, mainly for clients wanting to communicate with the former Portuguese colonies and Francophone countries in Africa. Professional language practitioners come on board to assist with a burgeoning workload.

Responding to an enormous challenge: South Africa enters its new dispensation in 1994, with a constitution that proclaims no less than 11 official languages. Folio rises to the challenge of translating into all these languages and more. Folio takes advantage of its position at the tip of Africa, meeting the need for the provision of translations into the dominant languages of the African continent, including Swahili, Amharic, Igbo and Yoruba.

Turn of the century: The launch of Folio Online in 2000, the international arm of the group, which caters to offshore clients. Training of translators in the use of CAT (computer-assisted translation) tools commences. Folio establishes itself as the go-to LSP for African languages.

Early 21st century: An expansion phase, in which the Folio Group grows from strength to strength. Folio InterTel is launched in 2010 and the voice-over department becomes a one-stop shop for sophisticated audio services. The Folio Group takes its place as one of the top five translation and language services consultancies in Africa with more than 100 languages on the list.


Folio is committed to delivering award-winning service and deeply appreciates the recognition we have received thus far.

Many thanks to the Common Sense Advisory for including the Folio Group in its ranking of the Top 5 Language Service Providers in Africa for eight consecutive years.

Recognition by The Cape Chamber of Commerce and Industry via their Exporter of the Year Award for the SSME category is an achievement of which we are all very proud. The award, which we have received three times, acknowledges “notable achievements in the export field”, based on performance criteria including product improvement, community involvement and job creation as well as a creative and innovative approach to exporting into difficult markets.


Corporate Culture

The motto on the South African coat of arms is in the ancient Khoisan language of the /Xam people: !ke e: /xarra //ke. It means “diverse people unite”. It refers to the necessity of unity between thought and action. On a collective scale it calls for the nation to unite in a common sense of belonging and national pride – unity in diversity.

At Folio, by facilitating communication between speakers of so many different languages, we are motivated by this noble ideal.

The staff members of Folio and our many associates around the world are united by our love for language and communication. It informs everything we do and although the language services industry is a serious business, with its emphasis on accuracy in the face of continuous and very tight deadlines, we enjoy a good few laughs along the way.

Folio is committed to meeting international standards of excellence across all our services. We constantly fight for the legitimacy of our industry by emphasising the importance of accredited training and certification to those who wish to work in this field.

The erroneous notion that just about any bilingual person can be a translator or interpreter undermines the value of professional language practitioners and the significance of the work we do. Over the years we have committed much time, energy and many resources to educating our practitioners about the importance of professional skills development.

Folio supports a wide range of initiatives including running competitions to create awareness of environmental and water conservation and green energy alternatives. We support cultural, health, animal welfare and educational programmes.

Click here to read more about Folio's Sponsorships and Charities

As a proudly South African company, the Folio team is keen to contribute to social upliftment programmes that improve the lives of our compatriots.


Membership of the global community of translators, interpreters, LSPs and business experts is a vital source of support and expertise. We believe in strength through partnership and enjoy sharing our goals and passion for languages with like-minded individuals and associations around the world.

Our local and international network includes:

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