AFRREV LALIGENS: An International Journal of Language, Literature and Gender Studies

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Translating Igbo Songs into English: An Interpretative Approach

Chidinma Okeogu


Translation has been chosen as a means of communication. A good translation is a means of overcoming linguistic and cultural barriers thus making it possible for communication to take place. Like in other African countries, translation from and into Nigerian languages becomes necessary not only for communication purposes, but also to fulfil two important functions. The first is cultural, the second is related to socio-economic development. Our research in this regard is more related to the cultural communication of translation. Translation is no longer seen as a linguistic exercise, but is seen more as a cultural transfer where the translator mediates between two cultures. We are in this work translating Igbo sons into English: a translation that is both cultural and literary. The Igbo language is rich in culture, translating from this language into another language showcases the Igbo culture. To translate is to communicate. The translator plays with the words of two languages: the original language in which the text to be translated is written and the language into which the text is being translated into. The translator does not keep words, as soon as he understands the meaning contained in a text, he re-expresses it into another language. He mobilizes his linguistic and extra-linguistic knowledge to translate the text. Using the interpretative theory of translation, we will demonstrate that translating Igbo songs which is oral literature or orature, involves more than words.

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