Challenges in translating RL Peteni’s Xhosa novel Kwazidenge into Afrikaans

  • Bertie Neethling


In a multilingual country like South Africa, translation from one of the official languages into another plays a major role, particularly in the public sector or the public domain. The purpose is to inform the everyday citizen, through his/her mother tongue, about basic information relevant to the citizen’s general life. When it comes to literary translation, the context is different. English has slowly worked its way into being the most prominent language in South Africa at nearly all levels of life. Authors of literary works also realise that there is a prominent readership in English, both in South Africa and elsewhere, and if a work is written in one of the other 10 official languages, there are often attempts to have them translated into English. Few works, however, are translated from the indigenous languages into Afrikaans. Afrikaans maintains a fairly prominent adult readership aside from prescribed work at school. The purpose of this article is to highlight some of the challenges facing a translator (in this case the current author) working from Xhosa (RL Peteni’s Kwazidenge) to Afrikaans (Roep van die ramshoring) in the context of literary translation, as well as the process followed by the publisher.


Journal Identifiers

eISSN: 2305-1159
print ISSN: 0257-2117