Translating from English to Somali and vice versa is, in my opinion, one of the hardest things in the language. One English word could be described in several ways and often very long sentences would translate into one word of English. Despite that though, and of course English being a very beautiful language itself, I still hold that Somali language is by far richer, more expressive and more descriptive. And i believe this all stems from the fact that oratory and poetry is a national passion!
With Somali students being the largest Ethnic Minority at the school, I was asked to translate a letter sent out to the parents into Somali language to make it easier for their understanding, and after a week of pondering over it I produced this below, though I still think there are many things that I could have changed to enhance the meaning…
We are planning our Christmas events. These will be the KS1 nativity, KS2 Christmas Carol Service and our parties. If you would like your child to join us in full or part please state below.
If for religious reasons you do not wish your child to take part, please fill the slip below, stating your reasons.
I would like/not like my child to take part in the Christmas events.
My religious reasons for withdrawing my child are:
Ku: Waalidiinta Waxaanu qabanqaabinaynaa xafladeheeni Christmaska. Kuwanoo ah KS1 Nativity iyo KS2 Christmas Carol Service iyo xafladeheena kale. Hadii aad ka raali tahay caruurtaadu inay ka qayb qaadato xafladahan ama qayb ka mid ah, fadlan ku buuxi magacyadooda meesha banana ee hoose.
Hadii aadan raali ka ahayn caruurtaadu inay ka qayb qaadato xafladaha diiniyan awgeed, fadlan taana hoos ku buuxi adigoo cadaynaya sabataada.
Waan ka raali ahay/kama raali ahi caruurtaydu inay ka qayb qaadato xafladaha Christmaska.
Sababahayga diiniyeed ee ay caruurtaydu uga qayb qaadan Karin xafladaha waa:
The parents would probably be rather surprised when they get this letter soon.