Variations in translating Poceza m’Madzulo radio narrative texts

  • Ernst R. Wendland


This study is a follow-up to an earlier one that overviewed the dramatic style and artistry of Julius Chongo, a Zambian radio narrative performer, in relation to a single narrative (Wendland 2014*). In that investigation I did not develop in detail the translation strategy that I employed when rendering the original Chewa (Nyanja) texts in English. At the outset, I was confronted with five choices in terms of translation procedure, which I seek to describe and illustrate in the present study. After a general introduction to the challenges of translating dynamic literature (in any language), I summarise these five putative options: Interlinear, Literal, Idiomatic, Interpretive, and Neutral. I then exemplify each of the approaches in a translation of the same paragraph from one of Mr Chongo’s broadcast tales. This leads to a comparative discussion of the main differences between the two closest of these translation techniques and some concluding thoughts concerning the most likely candidate(s) for use in a contemporary Zambian publication as well as in other English-speaking settings.

*Wendland ER. 2014. ‘The crocodile’s wife’ – a tale of transformations. Southern African Linguistics and Applied Language Studies 32(3): 269–284.


Journal Identifiers

eISSN: 1727-9461
print ISSN: 1607-3614