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Periodical article Periodical article Leiden University catalogue Leiden University catalogue WorldCat catalogue WorldCat
Title:Overcoming the barriers through literal and descriptive translations: examples of kanga names
Author:Malangwa, Pendo Salu
Periodical:Journal for Studies in Humanities and Social Sciences (ISSN 2026-7215)
Geographic terms:Tanzania
Swahili language
Abstract:The problem of translating Swahili aphorisms, riddles, idioms and proverbs as they appear on kanga cloths is examined, using skopos theory, according to which the target text must take into account the meaning in both the target language and target culture. A kanga is a colourful cloth used as traditional dress by Swahili women. It measures about 1.5 m by 1 m and typically has a printed border ('pindo'), a central motif ('mji'), and a short text ('jina'). Kangas are designed with extreme care to appeal to their users and as such they are artifacts of Swahili culture. The kanga texts communicate the culture and philosophy of the Swahili people dwelling along the coast of the Indian Ocean (Tanzania, Kenya, Mozambique and Somalia). The texts chosen for this paper illustrate the use and utility of the skopos theory. Since the texts are embedded in Swahili culture and philosophy, establishing equivalents in English can be a major challenge. Three options are reviewed: literal translation, descriptive translation, and ready equivalents. Literal translation can help to avoid losing the foreign flair. Descriptive translation often requires additional text to clarify the meaning. Selected translations include: 'It's strange for a dry coconut to want to break a stone', 'By causing misunderstandings, you'll end up with leftovers', and 'I won't revenge but I won't forget.' Bibliogr., note, ref., sum. [ASC Leiden abstract]