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Department of the Languages and Cultures of Africa

Theory and practice of Swahili translation

Course Code:
155901259
Unit value:
1
Year of study:
Year 3 of 3 or Year 4 of 4
Taught in:
Full Year
The objective of the course is to train students in the practical skills and techniques of translation from English into Swahili and vice versa; to help students acquire an understanding of a variety of approaches, methods, history of translation, and the place of linguistics in translation. By the end of the course, the students should be able to translate a variety of text-types including modern prose and academic texts into the target language. They should also become familiar with relevant translation technology.

Prerequisites

Swahili IIA; Kiswahili Novel; Advanced Swahili Usage

Objectives and learning outcomes of the course

The objective of the course is to train students in the practical skills and techniques of translation from English into Swahili and vice versa.

By the end of the course students should be able to demonstrate . . . 

  • an understanding of a variety of approaches, methods, history of translation, and the place of linguistics in translation
  • the ability to translate a variety of text-types including modern prose and academic texts into the target language
  • a familiarity with relevant translation technology

Workload

Total of 22 weeks teaching with 2 hours classroom contact per week, 1 hour of which will be a lecture and a 1 hour tutorial.

Scope and syllabus

There exists a large and growing body of published, modern Swahili texts that constitute a section of world literature, but which remains unknown to the global English speaking community. Unique genres of Swahili texts, such as Tenzi, or epic poems are important sources of historical and cultural knowledge. Students will be engaged to become familiar with unique linguistic structures of Swahili, idiomatic uses, literature and cultural history of the language. This course may be particularly useful for advanced students of Swahili, including those returning from the Year Abroad Study in east Africa.

Additional bibliography and texts for translation, more emphasis on translation theory and on developing practical skills of translation.

Method of assessment

This course is assessed by a combination of one three-hour written examination (70%) taken in May/June; one essay of 2,500 words to be submitted on day 1, week 4, term 2 (15%); a portfolio of translation texts assigned during term 1 and 2 (15%).

Suggested reading

  • Baker, Mona (ed), The Routledge Encyclopaedia of Translation Studies, London and New York Routledge, 1998
  • Bassnett, Susan & Andre Lefevere, Translation History and Culture, London : Cassell, 1995
  • Bassnett, Susan, Translation Studies, London: Routledge, 1991
  • Biguenet, John and Rainer Schulte, The Craft of Translation, London: University of Chicago Press, 1989
  • Gentzler, Edwin, Contemporary Translation Theories, London: Routledge, 1993
  • Kamusi ya Kiswahili Sanifu (Swahili Dictionary) 2nd Edition, Oxford University Press (East Africa). Nairobi, Kenya 2004
  • Lefevere, Andre, Translating Literature, Practice and Theory, New York: Modern Language Association. 1992
  • Lodhi, Abdullaziz, Oriental Influences in Swahili: A Study in Language and Culture Contacts, Acta Universitis Gothoburgensis, Sweden, 2000.
  • Mohamed, Mohamed Abdulla and Said A. Mohamed. Kamusi ya visawe = Swahili dictionary of synonyms. Nairobi, Kenya: East African Educational Publishers, 1998
  • Mwansoko, Hermans, Kitangulizi cha Tafsiri: Nadharia na mbinu, Dar es Salaam: TUKI, 1996
  • Nassir, Abdilahi. A concise dictionary of English-Swahili idioms. Nairobi, Kenya: Shungwaya Publishers, 1975.
  • Saavedra Caso, Jose Arturo, Utenzi, War Poems, and the German Conquest of East Africa: Swahili Poetry as Historical Source, Trenton: NJ, Africa World Press, 2007.
  • TUKI English Swahili dictionary=kamusi ya kiingereza-kiswahili. 1st ed. Dar es Salaam, Tanzania: Institute of Kiswahili Research, University of Dar es Salaam, 1996.
  • Venuti, Lawrence (ed) The Translation Studies Reader, London: Routledge, 2000 (MAIN TEXT)
  • Venuti, Lawrence, The Translator’s Invisibility, London: Routledge, 1995
  • Zawawi, S.M. Loan words and their effect on the classification of Swahili. Nominal Leiden. 1979.