Analysing the frames of a bible: the case of the Setswana translations of the book of Ruth

Berman, Sidney K. (2014-04)

Thesis (PhD) Stellenbosch University, 2014

Thesis

ENGLISH ABSTRACT: This study investigates how the contextual frames of reference (CFRs) of the three extant Setswana Bibles – Moffat, Wookey and BSSA (Bible Society of South Africa) – could have impacted on their renderings of the book of Ruth. The fact that the Bibles were translated within contexts that differed from those of the Hebrew text of Ruth gives rise to the assumption that some of such contexts or frames could have had problematic influences on decision making during translation. Differing frames were assumed to have led to differences (i.e., translation shifts) between the translations and the Hebrew text. Such frames were hypothesised to have emanated from socio-cultural, textual, communication-situational and organisational circumstances pertaining to the making of the Hebrew text and the translations. Since contextual frames of various kinds presumably converged on the Setswana target texts (TTs), this study proposes an integrated multidisciplinary approach to frame analysis, namely, the cognitive CFR model. The framework, which is embedded in biblical interpretation, merges insights from other disciplines including translation studies, cognitive semantics and cultural studies. The translators‟ decisions are evaluated using the heuristic perspective of “an exegetically justifiable rendering.” The study identified indeed countless shifts in the three Setswana translations which resulted from hypothetical socio-cultural, organisational, communicational and textual factors. Moffat‟s shifts revealed a predomination of organisational CFRs throughout the book of Ruth. The organisational CFR also stood out occasionally for Wookey as well. BSSA did not show a predomination of any class of CFRs but manifested the least problematic CFRs. As far as the negative influences of CFRs were concerned, BSSA was the least affected, followed by Wookey and lastly Moffat. The study reveals that it could sometimes be simple, but other times also be difficult or impossible, depending on the pertinent CFR, to provide an exegetically justifiable rendering of an ST unit. Yet, it can be concluded from this study that an awareness of CFRs during translation or analysis of translations can contribute towards the improvement of existing translations or the reduction of problematic shifts in new Bible translation projects.

AFRIKAANSE OPSOMMING: Hierdie studie ondersoek hoe die kontekstuele verwysingsraamwerke (KVRs) van die drie bestaande Setswana Bybels - Moffat, Wookey en BSA ( Bybelgenootskap van Suid-Afrika) – hulle weergawes van die boek Rut kon beïnvloed het. Die feit dat die Bybels vertaal is binne kontekste wat verskil van dié van die Hebreeuse teks van Rut, dra by tot die aanname dat van die kontekste of raamwerke moontlik ‟n problematiserende invloed op besluitneming tydens die vertalingsprosesse kon hê. Daar is aangeneem dat verskillende raamwerke lei tot verskille (byvoorbeeld: vertaalskuiwe) tussen die vertalings en die Hebreeuse teks. Daar is veronderstel dat sulke raamwerke spruit uit sosio-kulturele, tekstueel-kommunikatiewe en organisatoriese omstandighede van die vertaalproses asook die van die Hebreeuse teks. Aangesien verskillende soorte kontekstuele raamwerke vermoedelik ingespeel het op die Setswana teikentekste (TTs), fokus hierdie studie op 'n geïntegreerde multi-dissiplinêre benadering tot die raamwerk-analise, naamlik die kognitiewe KVR model. Die raamwerk, wat ingebed is in die veld van Bybelse interpretasie, kombineer insigte uit ander dissiplines, insluitend: vertaalkunde, kognitiewe semantiek en kulturele studies. Die vertaler se besluite word geëvalueer met behulp van die heuristiese perspektief van "'n eksegeties begrondbare vertaling." Die studie het inderdaad talle vertaalskuiwe in die drie Setswana vertalings geïdentifiseer wat teruggevoer kon word na hipotetiese sosio-kulturele, organisatoriese-, kommunikatiewe- en tekstuele faktore. Moffat se vertaalskuiwe vertoon ‟n dominansie van organisatoriese KVRs regdeur die boek Rut. Die invloed van organisatoriese KVR‟s is dikwels ook in Wookey geïdentifiseer. BSA vertoon egter nie „n oorheersing van enige klas van KVRs nie. Tewens, dit vertoon die minste problematiese KVRs. Sover die negatiewe invloede van KVRs betref, is BSA die minste geraak, gevolg deur Wookey en laastens Moffat. Die studie toon dat dit soms eenvoudig, maar ander kere ook moeilik of onmoontlik is, afhangend van die pertinente KVR, om 'n eksegeties-regverdigbare vertaling van 'n GT eenheid te bied. Tog, kan dit afgelei word uit hierdie studie dat 'n bewustheid van KVRs tydens vertaling of ontleding van vertalings kan bydra tot die verbetering van reeds bestaande vertalings of die vermindering van problematiese vertaalskuiwe in nuwe Bybelvertalingsprojekte.

Please refer to this item in SUNScholar by using the following persistent URL: http://hdl.handle.net/10019.1/86359
This item appears in the following collections: