By Bodhari Mohamed Warsame
A note on translation and the translator
It is important to have a forum where literary written works produced by the Somali authors of our generation, who today write in different languages, including the mother language, get translated and circulated. This is needed both for deeper understanding of each other’s work (among the Somali authors) and connecting more widely to their readers who may experience a barrier in one or another language. Not only that Somali authors and their Somali readers need this opportunity but other non-Somali readers of these works or anyone interested have to be considered to have a stake in gaining deeper understanding of the increasingly rich literary production of today’s global Somalis.
We are not delving here into the many great things that could be said about the importance of translation in enriching both personal and collective intellect of a nation or people. For this we have no space and time now.
Therefore, if this huge but achievable undertaking is to be at least attempted, there should be talented Somalis who could translate important world literature for their people while at the same time conveying the works produced by the Somali authors to the wider world in many languages.
Another fact is, although potentially great hope exists, there are no considerable professional Somali literary translators in action today. This does not, by any way, mean that talent and training do not exist, but is the tradition of translation, action and forum of delivery that are in great demand today.
I am not a professionally trained literary translator but developed a deep passion and love for languages in an early age, while at the same time have been a literal citizen of the world for a long time. There are two languages among the several I could speak and write more or less fluently that deserve a special mention. They are my mother language, Somali, and my educational or academic language, English. I will never say or claim that I know both languages truly or equally but could state without hesitation that I am confident in bringing the best out these languages, when it comes to literary translation in exchange.
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