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Insights into translation and the original text: Thomas Mofolo’s <i>Chaka</i>

Moroesi R. Nakin
Inie J. Kock


This paper aims to explore the strategies applied during the translation of chosen passages from the original Sesotho text of Chaka by Thomas Mofolo into English. Insights expressed here originate from participation in the translation workshops during the conference on “Translating Mofolo”. Different stages of the translation process are identified and discussed, while the main emphasis is placed on resolving instances of non-equivalence between the source text and the target text. Non-equivalence includes among other things, culture-specific words and expressions in the source language, grammatical considerations in both the source text and the target text, and the relationship between linguistic units in context. Culture specific words and expressions relate to idiomatic expressions and fixed combinations of words in the source and target texts. Grammatical considerations refer to the translation of Sesotho-specific moods and tenses, number, person, etc., into English, while the relationship between linguistic units is discussed with regard to cohesion, reference and other related cohesive devices in context.

Keywords: cultural specificity, non-equivalence, Thomas Mofolo, translation strategies

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eISSN: 2309-9070
print ISSN: 0041-476X