Application

The application of the model is demonstrated in the analysis of two literary works and their English translations. The first, Izibonga zikaDingana is a Zulu praise poem compiled and partially transcribed between 1927 and 1930 from sixteen oral performances (by different artists) by James Stuart (1868-1942), a local magistrate. Dingaan was a Zulu king who ruled from 1824 to 1840. Stuart initially published 188 lines of the poem in 1927, but recorded the current 488-line version orally (Rycroft and Ngcobo 1988). The Zulu transcription, English translation and commentary were published in 1988 by David Rycroft and Bhekabantu Ngcobo under the title The praises of Dingana. Ngobo transcribed Stuart’s compiled oral poem from tapes available at the School of Oriental and African Studies at the University of London, and prepared a draft English translation. Rycroft provided the commentary based on archival research at the Killie Campbell Africana Library in Durban. The editors make scant reference to the translation process, but apparently revised their draft translation based on the commentary research and previous translations discovered during the course of this research. These included unpublished handwritten translations by Stuart (1929) of his published STs, and of Stuart’s full recording by a D. Malcolm (1927), and published translations of excerpts, e.g. Cope (1968).

The second literary work is Deon Meyer’s (2011) Afrikaans novel 7 Dae, translated into English as Seven days by KL Seegers (Meyer 2012). Meyer’s writings can be positioned as central and primary (but not canonical) in the Afrikaans polysystem (see Even-Zohar 1990), as they are very popular and also innovative in their use of vulgarity and code-switching. The novel portrays the multicultural, multilingual cultural milieu of post-1994 South Africa through the eyes of its chief protagonist, Bennie Griessel (older, white, Afrikaans, male), and to a lesser extent, through those of his counterpart, Mbali Komeni (black, Zulu, female). Seegers' translation appends a glossary of Xhosa and Afrikaans words.

The corpus was created by listing ST and their corresponding TT segments in an Excel worksheet, where they were coded first in terms of cultural features represented, then grouped according to environment. Corpus frequencies of cultural categories are provided in parentheses.

Izibonga zikaDingana LCC

Izibonga zikaDingana is monocultural. The physical environment (N=145) depicts the Zulu kingdom (RZU1U=68%)—its landmarks (79, e.g. Mkhumbane, a local river), flora and fauna (42, e.g. umdlebe = Synadenium arborescence, a species of Euphorbia, impunzi = duiker, a small antelope), artefacts (19, e.g. imikhanye = sun shields) and costume (4, e.g. isicoco = headring). Neighbouring territories (RSA=14%) are described in the accounts of Zulu raids. However, foodstuffs (meat, honey) and some animals (e.g. birds, snakes) are universal (K=l8%).

The social environment (N=88) similarly depicts the Zulu kingdom (RZUIU=90%): its history (25, e.g. skirmishes with Mzilikazi), institutions (14, e.g. isigodlo = king’s harem), vocations (13, e.g. umalumulela = mediator), currency (2, e.g. izinkhomo = cattle), clans (21), customs and rituals (13, e.g. ukohlobonga = premarital sex to ascertain fertility, uku-thukuza induku emqubeni = maturing a fighting stick by burying it under manure). Referenced contacts with surrounding cultures (RSA=8%) include Dingaan’s slaying of Retief’s party, raids on the Swazi and the Basotho, warfare with Mzilikazi (the ancestor of the Shona tribe), liberation of Bapedi slaves, and hunting incursions into San territory. The only shared elements (K=2%) comprise references to the military and the council of advisers.

The almost exclusively monocultural (RZulu=97%) communicative environment (N=257) abounds with Zulu personal names (146, e.g. uMabhedi), praise names (49, e.g. uVezi = saviour, Ndlov’ enkulu = Great Elephant), nicknames (14, e.g. uMazinyansakansaka = Splintered-teeth), forms of address (4, e.g. Bantu = People), figurative expressions (39, e.g. bayibambe ngandlebe (lit.) to hold by the ear = to listen to advice), exclamations (4, e.g. izwa-ke = now hear!) and politeness norms (hlonipha), e.g. Princess Dinizulu’s version avoids words related to her late husband’s name Mnyamana (Rycroft and Ngcobo 1988:46). The poem’s discourse structure—comprising parallel and chiastic couplet constructions without regular rhyme or metre, similar to classical Greek poetry—reflects Zulu izibonga norms. However, literary devices shared with English poetics (K= 1.5%) include metaphor (e.g. uklebe = hawk, used to criticise Dingaan’s raids), alliteration and assonance (e.g. Zul’ eliphezulu) and wordplay (e.g. IDingwa le’nkomo = straying cattle, a pun on Dingaan’s name). Other languages represented (RSA=1.5%) include isolated Xhosa words (e.g. onyana = sons), an indigenised Dutch borrowing (uPiti = Piet) and a parody of the San language: “qa, bo, bo, bo, bo, bo, bo”.

Finally, traditional Zulu beliefs and values (N=74, RZU1U=84%) underpin proverbs (3), allusions (2) and narrative commentary (69): polygamy, fertility, strength, courage, monarchy, patriarchy, victory over enemies, cunning and identity as the ‘people of the sky’. Dingaan is praised for reintroducing tribal customs, outwitting his enemies, imposing terror,

Mapping Culture in Literary Translation 119 and even for murder. The imbonga accords Dingaan the status of divine dictator, but obliquely criticises Dingaan’s fratricide, genocide, femicide, vanity, feminine buttocks and love of comfort, implying that these contradicted traditional Zulu values. Shared values (K= 16%) include generosity, care of the poor and valour in war. In terms of value differentials, Zulu society as described in the izibonga evidences high power differences, high uncertainty, regimented gender roles, high collectivism, low restraint, high tribalism, strong belief in divinity, polygamous families and, from a Western perspective, low morality (e.g. theft and violence are acceptable ways of responding to enemies). Yet the greatest power is yielded by a woman, Dingaan’s aunt Mnkabayi, whose influence was as subtle as her references in the poem.

Thus the SLCC is predominantly Zulu (RZUIU=85%) across all cultural (physical, social, communicative and value) environments, with few shared cultural elements (K=9%) and elements common to other SA cultures (Rsa=6%).

 
Source
< Prev   CONTENTS   Source   Next >