Professional translations into and from Sami

The Sami language, otherwise known as Sami, Saami, or Lappish, belongs to the Finno-Ugric languages in the Uralic language family. More than 20,000 people in the world speak the language. It isn’t an official language of a country but is spoken in various isolated areas of Finland, Norway, and Sweden as a minority language.

Speakers of this language’s ten known dialects are not able to understand each other. The most widely spoken of these is North Sami, which is even used in media outlets.

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How the Sami language developed

The Sami language was probably adopted in the past by those who speak the Finnic languages. At the beginning of the 20th century, use of the Sami language in schools was banned by all four Nordic countries. In an effort to assimilate Sami speakers into their respective countries, they were forced to adopt each country’s official language.

There were still a few schools that taught Sami, but these were only in Sweden. The Sami language experienced rather severe persecution in the Soviet Union. This ban was removed after World War II, however, so many young people today learn the Sami language or speak it officially.

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The written language

It was only after World War II began that efforts were made to develop a written script for the Sami language, which until then had only existed in its original spoken form. Then, they started to record its grammar, including a rule code.

Over time, the Sami language adopted many loanwords, especially from Swedish and Norwegian. Six of the ten known Sami dialects were able to develop their own written language.

Sami is usually transcribed using the Latin script with various special characters. A few local dialects use the Cyrillic alphabet, however. Many of these dialects have only a small number of remaining speakers with some variants already in danger of dying out.

Some Sami dialects have already been extinct for hundreds of years. The West Sami variations are still spoken in Norway and Sweden, while the Eastern Sami dialects are still spoken in Finland and Russia.

Do you need expert translations from or into Sami?

Our huge database of translators allows us to offer native-speaking pros for even lesser spoken languages like Sami. We even have native-speaking English translators who are fluent in Sami and can translate, for example, a birth certificate for the USCIS. They can certify or notarize it, too.

Just contact us by phone, email, or the easy quote form. You will receive a quote at no obligation. But we’re certain you’ll be happy with the price, as well as the quality of our work.

Read more:

Finnish / Norwegian / Swedish

Sverige Samiska
Norge Samisk
Österreich Samisch
Danmark Samisk
Schweiz Samisch
United States Sami
Deutschland Samisch