Lexical cohesion in the translation of English-Swahili health care texts

DOI: 10.2989/16073614.2021.1942096
Author(s): Douglas Ondara Orang’i, Djibouti, Manqoba Victor Ndlovu, South Africa


Lexical cohesion plays an integral role in ensuring that texts are cohesive. It is, however, not yet established if lexical cohesion remains the same once texts are translated from English into Swahili. It is against this backdrop that this article set out to describe the network of lexical chains in English-Swahili health care texts and establish if there is any variation in the use of lexical cohesion thereof. The data used in this study is extracted from Orang’i’s doctoral study. In this article, the researchers focused on lexical cohesion as the basis for manually comparing the coupled pairs. It is a descriptive-explanatory study. The researchers, first, found out that there is no significant difference in the lexical cohesion as used in both the source and target texts. Secondly, it was established that Swahili health care texts contain slightly more lexical items than their English counterparts. Translators, in an attempt to make explicit what may be considered implicit in the target text if an equivalent lexical item is used, resort to using more synonyms and this makes them more cohesive. It also emerged that translators of health care texts have limited licence to significantly change the lexical items as used in the source texts.

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