TRANSLATION SHIFTS AND THE IMPROVEMENT OF BIBLE TRANSLATIONS: THE CASE OF RUTH 4:13 IN THE SETSWANA VERSIONS
This article proposes that the starting point for the improvement of Bible translations in sub-Saharan Africa is the identification and analysis of translation shifts. Shifts are differences between the corresponding portions of a translation and the source text. The concept of shifts is motivated by the observation that differences between a Bible translation and its source text are inevitable. This article demonstrates that the demarcation and examination of a shift can greatly enlighten the hypothesis of circumstances that caused the shift. Consequently, the translator or reviewer can be alert to the influence of similar circumstances contemporarily and find possible ways to eliminate or modify the shift. The article uses the text of Ruth 4:13 from Biblia Hebraica Stuttgartensia. The three Setswana Bibles that are compared with Biblia Hebraica Stuttgartensia are the translations by Robert Moffat (1857), Alfred Wookey (1908) and Bible Society of South Africa (1970). After examination and comparison, the article hypothesizes on the circumstances that may have caused the shifts of Ruth 4:13. It ends with suggestions for translating the verse without causing shifts.
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