Cal Interpreting & Translations (CIT) offers Amharic interpreters and translators with
legal, medical, and specialty experience, including criminal and civil matters, employee
meetings, engineering, patent cases, labor disputes, immigration, and more.
Although located in Los Angeles, CIT offers comprehensive Amharic language services
including interpretation, translation, and transcription, 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, worldwide.
Our interpreters and translators are native speakers who have been screened, certified, provided
credentials, field tested, and kept up to date with developments in both English and Amharic
languages through means such as lectures, conferences, and travel. CIT’s Amharic language
interpreters and translators possess in depth knowledge of the Amharic language, as well as of
the culture and history of the Amhara people, allowing them to provide informed and complete
interpretation and translation.

Status of Amharic

The language of Amharic, also know as Amarinya or Kuchumba, is spoken by over 25
million people today. Approximately 22 million of those speak Amharic as a first language. It is
the official language of the Federal Democratic Republic of Ethiopiaand is the native language to
the Semitic people of Central Ethiopia. After Arabic, it is the second most spoke Semetic
language in the world. Amharic is the national language of commerce, education and public
media in Ethiopia. Many people who speak Amharic also speak English, Arabic Tigrinya and
Afaan Oromo, all of which are languages spoken primarily in Northern Africa.

Origin of Amharic

The origins of the Amharic language can be traced back to the first millennia B.C. It is
believed that the descendants of King Solomon and the Queen of Sheba spoke this language for
thousands of years. It is also believed that the immigrants who crossed the Red Sea to
present0day Eritrea sprouted new language among the Cushitic people, one of them being
Amharic. The initial language of Ethiopia was Axum but when it shifted to Amhara, the
influence of the Amharic language spread through the region, making it the national language.
Influences & Dialects of Amharic

The Amharic language is heavily influenced by Cushitic languages, such as Oromo and
the Agaw languages. Amharic has many dialects and are intelligible with each other. The main
dialects are Gondar, Goijami (spoken in the North) and Showa (spoken in the south). Between
the dialects, there are several differences in pronunciation, vocabulary and grammar. Whichever
dialect is spoken in the capital of Ethiopia, Addis Ababa, becomes the standard spoken and
written language of the country.

The original script of the Amharic language was Ge’ez. However, Amharic eventually
outgrew the original Ge’ez alphabet, which was primarily consonant-based. In the modern
Ethiopian Semetic languages, the more evolved script is known as Abugida. Amharic is read
from left to right and have seven forms based on the vowels in each syllable. It also has quite a
complex verb system, which can be influences by several things, such as person, number, the
gender of a subject and whether it is direct or indirect. Amharic is a category III in it’s difficulty of learning by English speakers by the Foreign Service Institute (FSI) of the Department of State
organization.

The Arabic language is also a heavy influencer on Amharic. Because of business with
many nations of the Arab world, the Amharic language adapted several Arabic phrases or “loan
words.”

Interesting Facts

– The name Rastafari, meaning “head”, refers to a former Emperor of Ethiopia, Haile
Selassie. It is considered the sacred language to many Rastafarians and many speak
Amharic themselves. Most reggae musicians have written songs in Amharic.
–  The language is used by many scholars in History, Anthropology, Archaeology and
Linguistics because Ethiopia holds such great history and treasures.