Meaning Loss in Literal Translation: A Case Study of Dholuo Riddles and Proverbs
Orago, Stephen Ochieng'
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The purpose of this study was to investigate meaning loss as a result of literal translation of a literary text from Dholuo to English. This study had four objectives: the first one being, to identify and describe instances of meaning loss in translation of a literary text from Dholuo to English. Secondly, to determine. the factors that contribute to meaning loss. Thirdly, to suggest possible ways of improving the translation. Lastly, to describe the contrasts between the author's translation and the respondents' interpretation and translation of the sampled texts. This study adopted an eclectic theoretical approach. The following theories guided the study: Interpretative Theory, Cultural Translation Theory, and Semantic Theory. The main data was elicited from the text book written by Miruka, (2001) entitled "Oral Literature of the Luo". This book contains versions of riddles and proverbs in Dholuo and their respective translations into English. Samples of 65 texts were drawn which according to the researcher's intuition exhibited meaning loss. The secondary data was collected through the questionnaire from Dholuo native speakers who are competent in both Dholuo and English. The questionnaire required them to translate the texts in Dholuo into English and to state the terms that were difficult to translate. They were also to select the level of difficulty in translating these texts from the choices provided in the questionnaire. The data obtained was thus presented and analyzed in chapter four and categorized into four linguistic categories i.e. Structural errors, Lexical, Cultural and the Figurative use of language. Each category was then described, analyzed, and discussed qualitatively. The data from the questionnaire was also discussed in this chapter. Chapter five which is a summary of the study discussed briefly, the implications of the study and suggested areas for further research. A conclusion for the entire study is given at the end of this chapter.