Somali is a member of the East Cushitic branch of the Afro-Asiatic language family. It has 10-16 million native speakers and perhaps half a million second language speakers mainly in Somali, where it is an official language, Ethiopia, Djibouti and Kenya. There are also significant numbers of Somali speakers in Europe, North America and Yemen.

Somali has been written with a number of different scripts, including an Arabic-based alphabet, a Latin-based one and the Borama, Osmanya and Kaddare alphabets.

The Arabic script was first introduced in the 13th century by Sheikh Yusuf al-Kowneyn to aid Koranic teaching. In the 19th century Sheikh Uways al-Barawi improved the writing of Somali with the Arabic script and based it on the Maay dialect of Southern Somalia. A Somali linguist, Muuse Xaaji Ismaaciil Galaal, radically altered the spelling conventions for Somali written with the Arabic script and introduced a set of new symbols for the vowels in the 1950s.



In 1961 both the Latin and Osmanya scripts were adopted for use in Somalia, but in 1969 there was a coup, with one of its stated aims the resolution of the debate over the country’s writing system. The Latin alphabet was finally adopted in 1972 and at the same time Somali was made the sole official language of Somalia.

Somali linguistic varieties are broadly divided into three main groups: Northern, Benadir and Maay. Northern Somali forms the basis for Standard Somali. It is spoken by more than 60% of the entire Somali population, with its speech area stretching from northern Somalia to parts of the eastern and southwestern sections of the country. This widespread modern distribution is a result of a long series of southward population movements over the past ten centuries from the Gulf of Aden littoral.

Benadir is spoken on the central Indian Ocean seaboard, including Mogadishu. It forms a relatively large group. The dialect is fairly mutually intelligible with Northern Somali.

Maay is principally spoken by the Digil and Mirifle clans in the southern regions of Somalia. Its speech area extends from the southwestern border with Ethiopia to a region close to the coastal strip between Mogadishu and Kismayo, including the city of Baidoa. Maay is not mutually comprehensible with Northern Somali, and it differs in sentence structure and phonology.


ProMosaik Trans offers translations from and into Somali in the following fields:


  • Law and Contract Law
  • Patents
  • Marketing and Advertising
  • Technology
  • Science
  • Literature
  • Cultural Sciences


Somali Proverb: Acmo isweydaartay ayay galladi ka dhalataa.” – Friendship cannot stand always on one side.



ProMosaik Trans Istanbul offers the following language combinations from and into Somali:


English – Somali


Italian – Somali


German – Somali


French – Somali


Spanish – Somali






ProMosaik Trans also offers editing, interpreting, proofreading, and transcription services in Somali.


With ProMosaik interlanguage you can also study Somali with us online!


Send your translation requests into or from Somali, with the documents you need to be translated to