South African Journal of African Languages

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Depiction of indigenous food in translated isiXhosa folk narratives and biographies

Koliswa Moropa


The lack of translational and terminological resources for the South African translator who translates from English into an African language has been described by researchers in the field as the biggest challenge that translators have to deal with daily. But no attention has been paid to the scarcity of English equivalents for indigenous culture-specific terms in translated texts and English original writings based on African culture. As food is an ingredient of one’s culture, this article examines the strategies used in describing indigenous Xhosa food in translated folk narratives and in extracts from autobiographies/biographies of three prominent Xhosa figures, i.e. Magona, Mankazana and Mandela. The theoretical framework applied in this research is Descriptive Translation Studies (DTS). Theorists in this field do not prescribe how translations ought to be done but describe how they have been done. DTS takes into consideration the political, social, cultural and literary norms and conventions that influence the translation process. This approach has been chosen because the research concerns the rendition of a cultural aspect, namely, food.
AJOL African Journals Online