Article

A linguistic gap in translation: A case of English to Xichangana/Xitsonga of Zimbabwe

Published in: South African Journal of African Languages
Volume 38, issue 3, 2018 , pages: 255–260
DOI: 10.1080/02572117.2018.1518028
Author(s): Madlome Steyn KhesaniMER Mathivha Centre for African Languages and Culture, South Africa

Abstract

This study falls under the discipline of translation studies, which may sometimes be referred to as applied cultural linguistics. The aim of this study is to critically analyse linguistic challenges encountered in translations between Zimbabwean Xichangana/Xitsonga and English. In this study a qualitative approach is employed. The instruments used for data collection are interviews and document analysis. Thematic content analysis was employed to analyse the data. The theoretical framework which was taken into consideration is the linguistic theory since the focus of this study is on linguistic matters in translation. What gave rise to this research is the observation that many official documents in Zimbabwe are written in English and then translated mostly into either Chishona or isiNdebele, while formerly marginalised languages such as Xichangana are neglected. In fact, where translations are done into these marginalised languages, they are abridged versions of the original documents which are translated in full in the formerly so-called national languages. As a result, translation work in this language still lags behind and shows that there are still some linguistic challenges. This paper therefore seeks to find solutions to these challenges and to improve the quality of translations involving this language.

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