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Our Translation Services Now Cover the Ottawa Language

You might know Ottawa as the capital of Canada. What you might not know is how the city got its name—and that the name is shared by an indigenous ethnolinguistic group in the region. Both the city and the indigenous Ottawa people ultimately derive their name from the Algonquian word adawe, meaning “to trade.” Ottawa was once an important trade language in the area, and the language is still spoken today, although its future vitality is threatened by English.

Unfortunately, only around 1,100 people are native speakers of Ottawa, a small fraction of the 60,000 or so people who identify as ethnically Ottawa. The Ottawa-speaking community was impacted by the repressive policies of both the Canadian and U.S. governments throughout the 19th and 20th centuries, which led Ottawa speakers to teach their children English instead of Ottawa. Today, language revitalization efforts are underway to revive the language and increase its influence, but translation services for the tongue remain scarce. Here at, we’re proud to provide tailored Ottawa translation services to those seeking it.

We’d be happy to provide a quote of our Ottawa translation services for free—just ask!

The Ottawa language: Not actually spoken in Ottawa

Despite its name, the Ottawa language is not spoken in Ottawa—in fact, the majority of Ottawa speakers live in the United States, with roughly 220 residing in southern Ontario, near the U.S. border. Ottawa speakers in the US can be found throughout Michigan and, to a smaller degree, in northeastern Oklahoma. Ottawa is generally considered a dialect of the larger Ojibwe language, spoken across vast portions of Quebec, Ontario, Michigan, Wisconsin, and Minnesota, but since Ojibwe has no dominant prestige variety, its various dialects boast relative prominence.

Like many other indigenous languages in Canada and the northeastern United States, Ottawa hails from the Algonquian family, a heritage it shares with other major Native American languages like Cree and Mi’kmaq. Algonquian languages are notorious for their incredible grammatical complexity, with a polysynthetic structure featuring so much inflection that an entire English sentence can sometimes be expressed in a single Ottawa word. Ottawa generally puts the verb at the beginning of a sentence, with both verb-object-subject and verb-subject-object word orders common. Verbal inflection indicates the subject and object, and nouns inflect for various reasons, right down to a pejorative suffix to indicate contempt or disdain. The Ottawa language harbors a wealth of nuance, but since our translators are native speakers, you don’t have to worry about the accuracy in translating this tricky tongue.

Ottawa translation services for everyone

Despite the low number of native Ottawa speakers, we’re committed to bringing you the best Ottawa translation services we can. Our team members represent varieties of Ottawa spoken in different communities in Canada and the US, drawing on their native-speaking intuition to ensure pinpoint accuracy and natural flow throughout all translations. We translate texts both to and from Ottawa, helping our clients reach the audience they’re targeting.

The small pool of Ottawa speakers limits our flexibility, but to the degree possible, we’ve hired a diverse range of translators capable of various translation specializations. If you’re an educator looking to translate educational materials into Ottawa to boost the language proficiency of native Ottawa children, we can help—regardless of the field. If you run an organization that you’d like to cater to Ottawa speakers, we can help you target your message in a more impactful way. If you want to share the precious stories and culture of the Ottawa people, we can translate Ottawa-language literature into English—or we can translate English-language media, from books and poems to apps and games, into Ottawa. We’re ready to help with all your Ottawa-language translation projects.

To get started with your first Ottawa translation project, simply reach out and place an order!


Get a translation quote

Professional human translation for any language, any topic

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