Our analysis of both texts found that Naude’s translation presented with 294 additions and omissions. Of these, 24 were obligatory and 225 non-obligatory. We present a selection of examples of obligatory and non-obligatory translation shifts.
Obligatory Additions and Omissions
These additions and omissions are non-optional and Naude most probably had little choice but to opt for more idiomatic English in his translation. Example 1 is an example of Afrikaans onomatopoeia, which isby definition untranslatable. Naude opted for an established functional equivalent (Molina and Hurtado Albir 2002):
(1) ST: knarsend oopsluit [creakingly unlocking]
TT: “unlocks with difficulty”
Where Naude had little option but to add or omit text because of structural limits or requirements in the target language, he made use of a number of obligatory modulations (Vinay and Darbelnet 1995; Molina and Hurtado Albir 2002). In Example 2, the rhetorical question implied by the Afrikaans words mos maar could only be rendered convincingly in English with the rhetorical “no?” or “isn’t it?”
(2) ST: Alles is mos maar wat dit is. [BT: Everything is indeed but
what it is.]
TT: “Everything is what it is, no?”
In Example 3, Naude chose to use the more idiomatic English expression (an example of metonymy, where a concept is referred to by using another concept very close or similar to it) to describe that the phone’s battery (as opposed to the phone itself) had died. Although the phrase “lets his phone’s battery die” is grammatically correct, this may seem pretentious to English readers.
(3) ST: laat sy foon se battery uitloop [BT: lets his phone’s battery
TT: “lets his phone die”
Non-Obligatory Additions or Omissions
It is evident from our findings that Naude allowed himself the optional freedom to add or omit text. These optional additions and omissions occur almost ten times more than their obligatory counterparts. In some of the examples, more than one shift may be present (and was counted); in these cases, only the omission or addition under discussion is underlined.
In Example 4, Naude replaces the idiomatically correct “here and there” with another idiomatically correct phrase “dotted around”, i.e. “optional modulation” (Vinay and Darbelnet 1995), while at the same time omitting “ [t]here are only”—neither change being necessary in the TT.
(4) ST: Daar is nog net bier en daar huise [BT: There are only houses
here and there]
TT: “Houses are dotted around”
Instances of‘particularisation’ (Molina and Hurtado Albir 2002) also occur frequently. In Example 5, Naudé specifies in the TT that the character was looking out of the window, whereas the ST merely stated that the
Self-Translation of an Afrikaans Short Story by SJ Naude 139 character was looking out. Although this information is implied in the ST, Naude chooses to state this explicitly in the IT.
(5) ST: Hy diving himself tot stilstand, kyk nit. [BT: He forces him
self to stop, looks out.]
TT: “He forces himself to stop, looks out of the window."
Similarly, in Example 6, Naude adds the phrase “in the air” to particularise ‘somewhere’, but this does not add to the meaning of the ST (what else could be between the two but air?).
(6) ST: dat daar iewers tussen die twee van hidle nektar te vinde is
[BT: that there is nectar to be found somewhere between the two]
TT: “that nectar is to be found in the air between them”
The next few examples illustrate incidents where Naude simply omitted or inserted complete segments of text—sometimes phrases, sometimes complete sentences. These additions and omissions constitute the vast majority of all additions and omissions: 31.4 per cent and 21 per cent, respectively—collectively more than 50 per cent of all shifts observed.
In total, 71 sections of text were omitted in the TT. Examples 7 and 8 illustrate omitted phrases. These omissions sometimes changed the meaning: in Example 7, a child prodigy in the ST becomes an ordinary ballerina in the TT.
(7) ST: Sy snster, vertel hy vir A, was in haar jong dae 'n wonder
kind van ’n ballerina. [BT: His sister, he tells Sam, was in her young days a wunderkind of a ballerina.]
TT: “His sister, he tells Sam, was a ballerina in her young days.”
(8) ST: Asofdie bene oral, nie net in die voete nie, begin buig en ver-
skuif het. [BT: As if the bones, not only the feet, have started to bend and shift everywhere.]
TT: “As if the bones have started to bend and shift everywhere.”
A number of complete sentences have been omitted in the TT, as illustrated in Examples 9 and 10:
(9) ST: A se lyf verstyf en hy val van die stoel af sidder ’n klomp keer.
Hy le tussen die hare. Sy bene ruk, sy losgesnyde lokke kleef aan sy brock. [BT: Sam’s body stiffens and he falls off the chair, shuddering a few times. He lies between the hair. His legs are jerking, the cut-off curls cling to his trousers.]
TT: “Sam’s body stiffens and he falls off the chair, shuddering a few times. His legs are jerking, hair clings to his trousers.”
(10) ST: Nie genoeg om lyf teen lyf rond te ry nie. Of om in tuine
rond te loop ofte draf nie. Ons is op ’n vals spoor. [BT: Notenough to ride around body against body. Or to walk around in gardens or to jog. We are on a false track.]
TT: “Not enough to ride around with our bodies pressed against each other. We are on a false track.”
Examples 11 and 12 illustrate phrases that Naude added in the translation. These additions may point to ‘explicitation’ (Vinay and Darbelnet 1995) or ‘particularisation’ (Molina and Hurtado Albir 2002) of the shape of the highways (Example 11) or the place the barking is coming from (Example 12):
- (11) ST: Die snelwee verstom horn. [BT: The highways astonish him.] TT: “The highways astonish him with their sweeping width.”
- (12) ST: Die blafgeluid, tveer [BT: The barking sound, again.]
TT: “Somewhere behind them, the barking sound again.”
A number of new sentences have also been introduced in the TT, as illustrated in Examples 13 and 14:
(13) ST: Tussen A se hare deur kyk hy soos ’n vreemdeling na die
vaal woonbuurte, al die mure en doringdraad. In die bota-niese tuin stap hulle diep in, tot by ’n koelteplek, ’n waterval. [BT: Through A’s hair, which is blowing on to his face, he observes the dismal suburbs, the walls and barbed wire. They walk deep into the Botanical Gardens, to a shadowy spot, a waterfall.]
TT: “Through Sam’s hair, which is blowing on to his face, he observes the dismal suburbs, the walls and barbed wire. It feels as if he has never been in this city before. They walk deep into the Botanical Gardens, to a shadowy spot, a waterfall.”
(14) ST: A hop soos ’n bergbok oor die klippe, hy selfnie ver agterna
nie. [BT: A hops across the rocks like a mountain goat. He is not far behind.]
TT: “Sam hops across the rocks like a mountain goat. He is not far behind. He wonders whether all the rocks are real, knocks on a few of them.”