Autocorrect gets a multicultural makeover because English isn't the only language we text in

A South African cider brand is making it easy to add words in other languages to the lackluster spell-checker

Published On
Dec 12, 2019

Editor's Pick

What the duck is happening? I hate this piece of shirt!

Even native English speakers have a tough time with autocorrect, that often-misguided spell-checker that turns cathartic swearing into a movie script edited for TBS. But try using any other language on a phone that isn’t specifically set up for it. Every other word gets a comical or nonsensical approximation that makes predictive text all but useless.

Now South African alcohol brand Savanna Cider is broadening autocorrect’s horizons. “Decolonise Autocorrect,” a campaign from Grey South Africa, packages up hundreds of common words in languages like Sotho and Xhosa commonly spoken in South Africa, a nation with 11 official languages.


Each language pack is saved as a contact file, which many phones automatically add to their dictionaries. So party information like “Ba bang batla” (Others are attending) doesn’t get turned into “Gang-bang the baklava.” It’s not that kind of party.

To illustrate the ridiculousness of some results, Savanna commissioned an auto-corrected version of the popular protest song “Shosholoza,” rendered here as “Shoulder odour.”


Dec 12, 2019
Savanna Cider
Grey South Africa
Client Representative:
Maija-Liina Hansen-Chipps
Client Representative:
Lazola Dali
Client Representative:
Eric Ngidi
Client Representative:
Natasha Maharaj
Chief Creative Officer:
Fran Luckin
Executive Creative Director:
Glenn Jeffery
Creative Director:
Steph van Niekerk
Creative Director:
Francois du Preez
Art Director:
Marais Janse Van Rensburg
Maxine Twaddle
Mkhuseli Radebe
Sanele Ngubane
Marais Janse Van Rensburg
Steph van Niekerk
Head of Production:
Lara Bayley
Head of Production:
Linda Hauser
Business Director:
Jacqui Howard-Tripp
Account Manager:
Brett David
Production Company:
Produce Sound
Digital Creative Director:
Kristoff Smith
Kathrine Pelser
UI Designer:
Michael Williams
Siyabonga Hlengwa
Craig Wilson
Data Analytics:
Zaheer Adhikari
Dev/Ops :
Clemens Maart
Project Manager:
Leezl Kaschula
Bohlale Radebe
Francois Venter
Louis Enslin

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