A systemic functional linguistics perspective on the translation of children`s literature: a comparative analysis of the the Setswana translation of the girl without a sound

Thabong, Malebogo
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This study is a comparative analysis of the children`s story by Buhle Ngaba, The Girl without a Sound, which was translated from English into the Setswana language as Mosetsanyana yo o didimetseng and published in 2016. The aim of the study is to identify shifts and variations in the Setswana translation, entitled Mosetsanyana yo o didimetseng, by Segomoco Bosh, of The Girl without a Sound. The focus of the analysis is on transitivity relations identified in the two texts within the framework of systemic functional linguistics and on any shifts or other variations between the texts. Nine specific segments of the texts were selected for detailed analysis involves the last nine segments of the texts. The study uses a Qualitative Research as a methodology and Systemic Functional Linguistics as a theoretical framework for the comparison of the two texts. SFL has not been applied previously to the comparison of English and Setswana texts; the study therefore makes an original contribution to research involving translation between these two languages. The findings show no significant variation in the reproduction of the features of the ST in the TT. In all nine segments of the source and target texts which are analysed, the material processes are dominant, highlighting the physical activities performed by the little girl and the red-winged woman – the two chief players in the narrative. This is reflected in the foregrounding pattern of an Actor + Process + Goal and Circumstance. The second most frequent type of processes are the mental processes, most often with the little girl as a senser. The study also reveals other factors involving the use of Batlharo/Batlhaping dialect in the translation; there are also instances of literal translation, inconsistency, the choice of relatively sophisticated lexicon given the target audience, omission of words and change of structure. This study focuses on the analysis of transitivity, while future research might investigate modality in the interpersonal metafunction and an analysis of the textual metafunction in relation to the thematic structure. This study finds that while translators may make various adjustments in children`s texts if and when is necessary, it is generally advisable not to take additional liberties which may interfer with the original author’s intentions.
Research report completed in partial fulfilment of the requirements for the Master of Arts in Translation, University of the Witwatersrand, Johannesburg 2018
Thabong, Malebogo Eunice. (2019). Systemic functional linguistics perspective on the translation of children's literature :a comparative analysis of the Setswana translation of 'The Girl without a Sound'. University of the Witwatersrand. https://hdl.handle.net/10539/28522