Translating the Arabic Qur’an into isiXhosa

Sesanti, Andiswa Theodora (2013-03)

Thesis (MPhil)--Stellenbosch University, 2013.

Thesis

ENGLISH ABSTRACT: This study investigates the feasibility of translating the Arabic Qur’an into isiXhosa. The Qur’an has not yet been translated into isiXhosa and Xhosa-speaking Muslims who are unable to read and understand Arabic are facing a void in practising their faith. Xhosa-speaking Muslims also pray in a language that they do not understand and this robs them of close contact with the Almighty and as a result, the number of Muslims who speak isiXhosa does not increase. Through literature reviews and interviews it has been found that there is a great need for Muslims, who are target language speakers, to be able to communicate with Allah in their mother tongue, isiXhosa. Furthermore the study indicated that isiXhosa-speaking Muslims who, years ago, have converted to Islam are still struggling with the Arabic language. This study also investigates the view that the Arabic Qur’an cannot be translated into other languages because the Qur’an is the word of God delivered in Arabic to Prophet Muhammad (PBUH). This view is not based upon the assumption that an Arabic Qur’an is untranslatable, but rather on the views of some Arabic scholars. There are also fears that meaning will be lost when the Qur’an is translated. However, the study showed that when translating the Qur’an, one is not seeking to translate only the meaning but also the message of the Qur’an. A conclusion was reached that all human beings, thus all nations and languages, are created by Allah. Therefore, it is acceptable for human beings to communicate and listen to Allah’s message in their own language. This study suggests that culture and language are inseparable and that both must be taken into consideration when translating. The Qur’an has already been translated into other languages and the translations are used without any problems, for example into English and KiSwahili. The Qur’an is available in other African languages as well. Therefore, this study suggests that the Qur’an can be translated into isiXhosa. The linguistic challenges can be addressed in the target language by a body consisting of translators of laypersons, translation experts and linguists specialising in both Xhosa and Arabic. However, the study shows that the title of the Xhosa Qur’an should indicate that the Qur’an is a translated text.

AFRIKAANSE OPSOMMING: Die studie ondersoek die vertaling van die Arabiese Koran na Xhosa. Die Koran is nie tans in Xhosa beskikbaar nie en Xhosa-sprekende Moslems wat nie Arabies magtig is nie, ervaar dit as ’n struikelblok in die beoefening van hul geloof. Xhosa-sprekende Moslems bid ook in Arabies, selfs al verstaan hulle nie die taal nie. Dit beroof hulle van noue kontak met die Almagtige en veroorsaak dat die Moslem-geloof nie by Xhosa-sprekers in townships inslag vind nie. Aan die hand van ’n literatuurstudie en onderhoude is bevind dat daar ’n groot behoefte onder Xhosa-sprekende Moslems is om in hul moedertaal met Allah te kommunikeer. Die studie het ook getoon dat Xhosa-sprekende Moslems wat hulle reeds jare gelede tot die Islam bekeer het, steeds met die Arabiese taal worstel. Die studie ondersoek ook die siening dat die Koran nie vertaal mag word nie, omdat die Woord van God in Arabies aan die profeet Mohammed (mag vrede oor hom heers) geopenbaar is. Dié siening berus nie op die aanname dat die Koran onvertaalbaar is nie, maar eerder op die uitsprake van Arabiese geleerdes. Daar word ook gevrees dat die Koran se betekenis verlore sal gaan tydens die vertaalproses. Die studie toon egter dat die vertaling van die Koran sal fokus op die oordrag van die boodskap en nie net die betekenis van woorde nie. Die gevolgtrekking van die ondersoek is dat alle mense, en dus alle volke en tale, deur Allah geskep is. Dit is dus aanvaarbaar vir mense om Allah se boodskap in hul eie taal te kommunikeer en aan te hoor. Die studie kom tot die gevolgtrekking dat taal en kultuur onskeidbaar is en dat albei in ag geneem moet word tydens die vertaalproses. Die Koran is reeds in ander tale vertaal en word sonder enige probleme gebruik, byvoorbeeld in Engels en Swahili. Die Koran is ook in ander Afrika-tale beskikbaar. Die studie bevind dus dat die Koran ook in Xhosa vertaal kan word. Die taalkundige uitdagings kan in die doeltaal hanteer word deur ’n vertaalspan wat bestaan uit leke, opgeleide vertalers en taalkundiges wat spesialiseer in Xhosa en Arabies. Die studie toon egter dat die titel van die Xhosa Koran moet aandui dat dit ’n vertaalde teks is.

I-ABSTRAKTHI: Olu phando luphande ukuba nako kokuguqulelwa esiXhoseni kweKurani yesi-Arabhu. Uphando lubangelwe kukuba kungekho Kurani iguqulelwe esiXhoseni okwangoku kwaye kuqwalaseleke ukuba aMaslamsi athetha isiXhosa, angayiqondiyo nangaluvayo ulwimi lwesi-Arabhu, nokuba afundile okanye awafundanga, ajongene nomngeni wokuba nokungoneliseki kwinkolo yabo. Inyaniso yokuba kufuneka athandaze ngolwimi angaluqondiyo, ibenza bangakwazi ukufikelela kuQamata kwaye ngenxa yoko, inani laMaslamsi alandi kwiilokishi apho aMaslamsi athetha isiXhosa. Uphando, ngokuphonononga iincwadi nangokubamba udliwano-ndlebe, lufumanise ukuba kukhona isikhalo esikhulu esisuka kuMaslamsi athetha ulwimi okujoliswe kulo ukuze akwazi ukunxibelelana noQamata ngolwimi aluqonda ngcono, olusisiXhosa. Uphando lubonise ukuba aMaslamsi athetha isiXhosa awaguqukelanga kwinkolo ye-Islamu kutsha nje kwaye umzabalazo wolwimi kudala uqhubeka. Uphando luxoxe ngoluvo lokuba iKurani yolwimi lwesi-Arabhu ayinakuze iguqulelwe kwezinye iilwimi njengoko iKurani ililizwi likaQamata eladluliswa ngolwimi lwesi-Arabhu kuMprofeti uMuhammada (uxolo malube naye). Uphando lungqine ukuba uluvo lokuba iKurani yolwimi lwesi-Arabhu ayinakuguqulelwa kwezinye iilwimi alusekelwanga ekungaguqulweni kombhalo kodwa kwizimvo zezifundiswa zama-Arabhu. Uphando kananjalo luxoxe ngomba wokuba uloyiko lokuguqulela iKurani yolwimi lwesi-Arabhu kwezinye iilwimi lubangelwa yinyaniso yokuba xa kuguqulelwa, kuye kubekho ukulahleka nokulahlekwa kwentsingiselo pha naphaya. Uphando slubonise ukuba xa kuguqulelwa iKurani, ubani akasobe efuna ukuguqulela intsingiselo kodwa umyalezo weKurani. Uphando lufikelele kwisigqibo sokuba abantu bazizidalwa zikaQamata kwaye badalwe bazizizwe ngezizwe nokuba bathethe iilwimi ngeelwimi. Ngoko ke, kwamkelekile ukuba abantu banxibelelane ze bamamele umyalelo kaQamata kulwimi olulolwabo. Uphando lufikelela esigqibeni sokuba inkcubeko nolwimi azohlukani kwaye ngexesha lokuguqulela, zombini (inkcubeko nolwimi) kufuneka zibe ziyaqwalaselwa. Uphando lubonise ukuba iKurani yaguqulelwa kwezinye iilwimi kwaye iinguqulelo zisetyenziswa ngaphandle kwengxaki. Imizekelo yeenguqulelo ziiKurani kwisiNgesi nakwisiSwahili. Uphando lubonise kananjalo ukuba zikhona ezinye iinguqulelo zeKurani kwiilwimi zase-Afrika. Ngoko ke, uphando lufikelele kwisigqibo sokuba iKurani ingaguqulelwa kulwmi lwesiXhosa kwaye nayiphina imingeni yenzululwazi yolwimi engathi ivele ingasonjululwa kulwimi ekujoliswe kulo luphando, ukuba kunokuthi umntu ongathi aguqulele ingabi nguye nawuphi na umntu ontetho isisiXhosa owazi ulwimi lwesi-Arabhu kwaye eliSlamsi, koko ibe yibhodi yokuguqulela eya kuthi ibe nabantu abohlukeneyo ngokwamanqanaba abo, ukusuka kulowo ungafundanga, iincutshe zokuguqulela, iingcali zolwimi kwiilwimi zombini. Nangona kunjalo, kuphando kuye kwaqwalaselwa ukuba iKurani eguqulelweyo ayinakubizwa ngokuba yiKurani kodwa mayibizwe ngegama elibonisa nelicebisa ukuba umbhalo lowo yinguqulelo.

Please refer to this item in SUNScholar by using the following persistent URL: http://hdl.handle.net/10019.1/80138
This item appears in the following collections: