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Language Advocacy in Remote Communities: Somali and English

While Somali may not be widely spoken outside of a few East African countries, it is by no means rare. Over 16 million people throughout Somalia, Djibouti, and certain parts of Ethiopia and Kenya speak the language. As a result, English to Somali translations, Somali to English translations, and dozens of other language combinations to and from Somali are vitally important for millions of people.

Nearly half of Somali speakers live in Somalia, where it is the official language of the government. However, Somalia has been ravaged by drought, natural disasters, and wars. Over 2 million displaced individuals live within Somalia’s boundaries, with many other refugees fleeing the country entirely. Nearly 100,000 Somali refugees reside in England alone. In these desperate circumstances, education funding and infrastructure have been inconsistent at best, especially in rural or isolated communities. When vulnerable communities lose access to education and Somali translation services, they are at greater risk for displacement and cyclical poverty.

Thankfully, some people are working hard to promote Somali and English to Somali refugees in London. “Connecting Communities” is an organization founded by Shukri Adan and Ifraah Samatar, two Somalian women who want to break down language barriers and promote both the English and Somali languages among refugee communities. They’ve taken an interesting approach to language learning in order to ensure the longevity of the Somali language, while also promoting Somali to English education.

Every Wednesday, “Connecting Communities” holds language classes in Lower Clapton for Somali refugees of all ages. In the mornings, parents take English classes, while their children learn Somali in the evenings. This way, displaced families can better integrate into English society, without losing touch with their native culture. As their language skills progress, parents and children can help each other translate Somali to English, and vice versa.

While “Connecting Communities” works to break down language barriers abroad, some politicians are trying to promote the Somali language at home. As of November 27th, the Somali Democratic Party (SDP) confirmed its merger with the Prosperity Party. Though both parties reached agreements on a variety of issues, they also unanimously agreed to make Somali one of the working languages of the new political party. This decision will help ensure that Somali remains an integral part of government processes in Somalia, and will ultimately promote Somali around the nation.

However, the Somalian government also sees the importance of teaching the English language to its citizens. The vast majority of Somalian schools offer English courses, and many Somalian citizens (particularly in the northern regions of the country) speak English fluently. That said, the issues of the last two decades have put language education at risk for millions of Somalians, especially children and young adults. Now, Somali speakers, both at home and abroad, must work to promote English and Somali to isolated and vulnerable communities.

In doing so, volunteers and political parties not only promote education, but also give these communities agency over their own lives. For most Somali refugees, the future is very uncertain. Some of them left home and may never return, while others remain in dangerous or completely isolated regions of the country. In any case, providing educational services, in addition to English to Somali and Somali to English translations, is vital for the future of the Somalian people.

Somali Translation Services with ITC

Here at the International Translating Company, we implement a tried-and-true approach to document and web content translation to ensure that businesses, non-profits, and at-risk communities have access to the language translations they need. Rather than searching for translators at the last minute or worse, using a machine translation, we employ hundreds of dual-native linguists who are certified in their field and ready to provide top-quality human translations.

What exactly does this mean? It means that if you need Somali to English translations, English to Somali translations, or any number of language combinations, we have a certified linguist who is a native speaker of both languages to handle the job. With in-house training and the knowledge of a dual-native speaker, our Somali-English translators are well-equipped to provide the best translations to our clients, with zero translation mistakes.

The process doesn’t stop there, though. Every speech translation project has a dedicated team to double-check the quality of the translated text and comb-through every last word or phrase. At the International Translation Company, we leave no stone unturned.

You may be asking yourself: what about the cost? And how long will the translation process take? Thankfully, we offer competitive prices and speedy turnarounds. Additionally, our interpreters and translators are fluent in localized Somali dialects, so we can handle even the most specific of requirements.


While the rate and length of the translation process will vary by project, we always make sure that the client comes first. Providing high-quality translations for just about any budget and timeframe is our guarantee! Do you need a professional Somali translation by dual-native linguists? Contact us to get a quote today!

By Abbey Casella | December 10, 2019 | Categories: ITC | No Comments

About the Author: Abbey Casella