Somali Language Translation and History: A New Language Worth Translation

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Somali Language Translation

Somali language translation is thriving among translation and localization providers as many people are currently using it. Around 36.6 million people are speaking Somali as of 2016. The Somali language is officially used in Somalia and Somaliland. Moreover, it is a national language in Djibouti and a working language in North Eastern Kenya as well as the Ethiopian Somali. The African language has two main dialects, the Somali mainstream use one, while people in the Shabelle or Juba Rivers’ vicinity speak the other. Moreover, the language has three linguistic varieties: Benadir, Maay, as well as Afsoomali. To know more about the language, let’s sneak a peek at its history and the Somali language translation importance.

History of Somali Language

The Somali language is Cushitic, a part of the Afro-Asiatic language family. The language has been only in the spoken form until 1973. Before that, the people of the country had been using English and Italian in governmental errands. Meanwhile, they were using English as the main language in school systems and government, which led to socio-economic conflicts between the literate and illiterate Somalis.

In 1969, a revolution has erupted due to the big gap between illiterate Somalis and government people. Following that, Somalis took a decision in 1972 to have a Somali script used by ordinary people and in governmental errands to close the socioeconomic gap. Then, in 1973, Somali people adopted their orthography based on the Latin alphabet. The Somalis began to use the script officially in different sectors year after year until they started using it in university instructions by the late 1980s.

Somali Language Translation Importance

Translation opens new gates and Somali language translation gives you many business opportunities in a new growing market. That is because the Somalian economy is moving from rural traditional pastoralism to urban, services, and trade.  Moreover, the World Bank has estimated the Somalian economy to grow to 3.2% in 2020, up from 2.9% in 2019. Hence, many companies and businesses have already started their eCommerce localization, eLearning localization even games localization projects to target Somali speakers.

You do not only need Somali language translation to deal with people living in Somalia but also with the Somali diaspora. Many Somalis moved to different places around the world. You can find the Somali diaspora in a country like the US or United Kingdom (UK). Between 1990 and 2015, the number of people born in Somalia, and residents in other countries grew from around 850,000 to nearly 2 million people. In 2015, around 280,000 Somalis were living in the European Union (EU) countries, and between 140,000 and 150,000 people lived in the US, according to Pew Research Center. To reach out to the Somali diaspora, it is important to have your documents translated into their language.

Somali Language Translation Challenges

Somali is a tonal language in which the tone defines the genre as well as the number distinctions. This tone distinction is a challenge for translators who are not mastering the Somali language and its tones. Moreover, the Somali sentence structure is different from English as the sentence order is subject-object-verb. Somalis use definite articles as suffixes, not prefixes like the English language. Meanwhile, the Somali language is similar to French in the part related to the word gender. That is to say the Somali language has both masculine and feminine nouns. Your Somali translation services provider needs to be aware of the difference between Somali and the other language of the translation, whether a source or a target language.

Additionally, the Somali language does not have perfect tenses. Moreover, in the passive sentences, Somalis never mention the subject as the language does not have the preposition ‘by’. The Somali language has several words derived from Arabic, English, French, and Italian.

In light of the many features of the Somali language, you need to choose a translation provider who is well aware of the language and how it is used. Your translation provider must be sure of the linguistic and cultural differences of the Somali language to be able to deliver an accurate translation.

As an African translation services provider, bayantech only uses native translators who are locally-based linguists to be sure of the accuracy of the translation. Moreover, our Somali translators are culture experts and able to localize your translation to fit in the Somali markets.

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