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Translation of prose falls under “literary translation” that involves these other genres: poetry and drama. In literary translation enough works have not actually been done in prose, drama and poetry. In translating these genres, a lot of problems are usually encountered. This work is therefore aimed at examining these problems and highlighting some cultural elements in the text. This could not be done in isolation and for this reason, the text, Eze Goes to School by Onuora Nzekwu and Michael Crowder was selected and translated from English into Igbo. The translated work was analyzed. For the analysis, examples from the source and target texts were placed side by side and suitable techniques employed. The problems encountered were highlighted.
Recommendations were made. This work will be of immense value to the target language users, would-be translators and linguists. The highlighted cultural elements will be greatly appreciated by the owners. This will help to resuscitate some of the cultural elements that are about going extinct. Having seen some of the problems and adequate techniques employed in solving them, literary authors and translators will be stimulated to produce more literary translated works.
The place of translation as a means of giving out information makes translation very necessary. Any needed information which is in another language could be re-expressed into other languages through translation for proper communication. Translation as a means of communication has the basic role of educating and informing. The importance of sharing information cannot be over stated because of what it can accomplish in the lives of individuals, organizations and nations. In fact, there is no area of endeavour that is excluded in this aspect.
Important facts and truths that are locked up in every piece of information which in turn is often expressed in some foreign languages are exposed through translation. Such facts, be they in sciences or arts, when translated are made accessible for the benefit of others.
Translation as a veritable tool for any human activity has been viewed and explained by various people. Th8/4riveni (2000:1) states that “translation is not simply a matter of seeking other words with similar meanings but of finding appropriate ways of saying things in another language”.
Commenting on the communicating role of translation, Ajunwa (1991:13) views translation as “a means of communication born of cultural contacts and interactions between speakers of different languages”. This goes to suggest that translation cuts across the cultures of the world. Therefore, if people should know about other people’s culture and other aspects of their lives, then the need for translating from one language to the other is very necessary.
Buttressing the above explanations, Edebiri (1982:1) states that; “Translation, one of the most important cross-linguistic and cross cultural practices has been going on in Nigeria for over a century now”. The inference is still on translation cutting across different cultures of the world.
Translation actually started in Nigeria with the coming of the missionaries in the 17th century. During this era, some religious materials were written and translated by these missionaries, to aid the work of spreading the gospel. Not long, some indigenous writers joined in writing either in the Igbo or English languages. But it was observed from the works produced that the interest of these indigenous writers was more in writing than in translating. With this, many works were produced in the area of Prose, Drama and Poetry. These works were written in English or Igbo.
In the area of Prose, works like Things Fall Apart, only Eze Goes to School, Drummer Boy, The Only Son, Efuru, Omenụkọ, Ije Odumodu Jere, Ala Bingo, Isi Akwụ dara N’ala and Mbediọgụ were produced. In Drama, we have works like, Ọjaadịlị, Nwata Rie Awọ, Obidiya, Akụ Fechaa, Akụ Ụwa, Eriri Mara Ngwugwu and Ọkụ Ụzụ Daa Ibube. Poetry though a more difficult area is not left behind. Some works have actually been produced in this area. We have works like, Abụ maka Ụmụntakịrị, Ụtara Ntị, Akpa Uche, Echiche, Akọ na Uche, Ụyọkọ Mbem and Uche Bụ Ahịa.
Surprisingly, of all the listed works, Things Fall Apart, Mbediọgụ and
Omenụkọ have recently been translated into Igbo and other languages. It has been realized that not having enough translated Igbo works in other languages and also works in other languages being translated into Igbo has actually locked up facts and ideas about these people that own these languages, especially as it concerns the rich culture of the parties involved.
Against this backdrop, the researcher has taken up the task of translating the text Eze Goes to School into the Igbo language. This text produced in 1963 is one of the oldest literature texts for the Junior Secondary Schools all over the federation. As an old text with an Igbo background, there is the need for it to be re-expressed in the Igbo language so as to be of great benefit to the grassroot. Also, we should understand that no matter how educated or experienced one is in a foreign language, it is still a foreign language. “Honest and Dynamic people are generally more comfortable speaking, writing and reading in their own language”, Nwadike (2008:18). There is also the sense of fulfillment, independence and belongingness in using one’s language.
1.1 Significance of the Study
In a multilingual nation like Nigeria, the importance of a study of this nature is obvious. The translation of the text Eze Goes to School will help some Igbo people that are not literate enough to read and appreciate some of the cultural elements that were highlighted in the text. Apart from this, the reading of the entire book in their own indigenous language will also be highly appreciated.
The work will also be of immense help to students and teachers of the
Igbo language who will find out through this study that Igbo is as good as any other language for the expression and dissemination of some cultural element seen in the text that are peculiar to the Igbo people. Finally, the study highlights some translation problems and how these problems hinder good translation work.
1.2 Scope of the Study
This work is limited to the translation of the text Eze Goes to School from English into Igbo. The work also covers the problems encountered in the process of translating the text from English into the Igbo language.
1.3 Background of the Study
It is generally believed that translation is as old as written literature. In Nigeria translation is viewed as an offshoot of missionary activities. According to Edebiri (1982:15), “translation has been going on in Nigeria for more than a century now”. When the missionaries came into Nigeria and launched in earnest evangelization, they realized that availability of the bible in various local languages will facilitate their work but the absence of a written tradition in the indigenous languages was an obstacle. By the middle of the last century, the Bible had been translated into some of the indigenous languages. The personalities that helped in translation during this period were Bishop Ajayi Crowther, Rev. J. C. Taylor, S. W. Kolle, Archdeacon Thomas Dennis and others.
Comparing the work of these missionaries, Edebiri (1982:20) said that by the middle of the last century they (the missionaries) had already rendered the Bible into the Yoruba, Igbo, Hausa, Ijaw, Efik and Kanuri languages. Apart from translating the Bible into some Nigerian indigenous languages, the missionaries also showed some interest in translating some other aspects of indigenous literature into the English language. Some English literatures were also translated into some indigenous languages. For instance, The Pilgrim’s Progress (Ije Nke Onye Kraịst Jere) and some catechism texts were translated by Archdeacon Thomas J. Dennis with the help of some Igbo indigenes.
So it could be rightly said that the foundation of translation in Nigeria was actually laid by the early missionaries. They prepared the ground on which the indigenous writers/translators started planting.
The research method and procedure adopted by the researcher were done in two stages:
1. Through reading of the source text, Eze Goes to School.
2. Translating the source text from English into Igbo.
Some related literatures were reviewed to gather some useful information. Dictionaries were also consulted.
In translating the source text, Eze Goes to School, the researcher will be guided by the principles of translation as propounded by Ettin in Nida (1964:14). She identified the text as a literary text. This text was thoroughly read with interest and some difficult words and structures were fished out.
Some academics in this area (Linguists) were consulted for some clarifications.
First and second translations of the Source Text into the Target Language were then made. These were given to some knowledgeable people to review. Corrections and comments were made by these people with justifications. After all these, the researcher then made her final rendering of the Source Text from English to Igbo.
In the analysis of the translated text, the researcher employed some techniques. The entire work was guided by the principles and theories of translation.