19 Swahili Names For Some Of The Tech Terms And Gadgets We Use

Use these in your latest discourse with your friends, family and colleagues


Kiswahili is both the national and official language in Kenya and hence it is one language you cannot avoid to hear being spoken by Kenyans in offices or at home or in a gathering.

However, when it comes to tech, tech terms usually have English names since we are net importers of technology. A lot of these tech related words that have been incorporated in the English language, but it is not common knowledge what their equivalent is on Kiswahili.

I was rather curious to know what some tech items we use everyday are referred to as in the Swahili language and the search led me to a Jamii Forums post dated back last year in May. Jamii Forums is a popular forum platform in Tanzania and since their national language is Kiswahili, it is a good location to get such information from people posting on the forum.

We have known that phones are called rununu and computers are called tarakilishi. However this list goes a step further where we get to know the Swahili words for simcard, flash disk, laptop and much more!

  • Laptop – kipakatalishi
  • Simcard – kadiwia
  • Scratch card – kadihela
  • Password – nywila
  • Keyboard – kicharazio
  • Mouse – kiteuzi
  • Lift – kambarau
  • Computer virus – mtaliga
  • ATM – kiotomotela
  • Photocopier – kinukuzi
  • Flash disk- diski mweko
  • Floppy disk – diski tepetevu
  • Scanner – mdaki
  • Memory card – kadi sakima
  • Air conditioner – kiyoyozi
  • Calculator – kikokotoo
  • Scanner – mdaki
  • Microwave – tanuri ya miale
  • Duplicating machine – kirudufu

Kiswahili has sure kept up with the number of tech terms that have come up over the years and it is good we can use some of this words without necessarily resulting to using those that look like direct translations.

Have you seen any other Kiswahili names being used for tech terms not listed here that you would love to share?


  1. Good effort. We are still a loooong way…
    We haven’t taken the growth of Kiswahili very seriously. Our brothers across the border are trying though it’s a struggle for them too. Why call card kadi? Is that not intellectual laziness? Where are the wazee’s to help…
    Mr. Walio needs to set up a National Languages Institute whose job is to preserve our languages and grow them – including Kenyan English – After all, everyone else has their version of English.

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