Facts about the Somali Language

The Somali language is spoken by nearly 13 million people worldwide, including 7 to 8 million within Somalia itself. “Common” or “Standard” Somali is used in broadcasts and most official documents, and is based on the northern-central dialect. This variety is commonly used for Somali translations in the United States. However, various other Somali dialects (and other languages!) are also in use within Somalia. The current written form of Somali uses characters from the Latin alphabet and was standardized in 1972. (Earlier forms used Arabic script or some other characters but were not successfully popularized.)

  • Not everyone born in Somalia speaks Somali as their first language. A partial list of additional languages spoken within the Somali state includes Maay (Af-Maay, Maay Maay), Garre, Jiidu, Oromo, Dabarre, Tunni and Mushungulu.
  • The Somali-speaking population in the United States currently totals about 150,000.
  • Minneapolis, Minnesota and Columbus, Ohio are home to the greatest number of Somalis in this country.

ASIST Translation Services, Inc. is a full-service interpreting and translation agency located in Columbus, Ohio. We provide translation, medical interpreting, legal interpreting, proofreading, studio voice recording and media production in foreign languages, localization of e-learning, interactive and Web content, and specialized language services to clients around the world…