Dholuo Translations and the Complexity of Ambiguity: A Case of Tone in Dholuo Verbal System

Erick Omondi Odero, Isack Otieno Odero


The translation of texts from the other languages of the world into Dholuo presents both translators and their audiences/readers with a myriad of complexities in the comprehension of the intended messages. Of notable causes are the availability of multiple options in the translation of particular lexical items in the language(s) of the source text(s) (ST) and those of the target text(s) (TT). This is, notably, caused by the elements of borrowing from the languages of the ST even in instances where there already exist well-grounded lexical items that can serve as equivalents in the languages of the TT. While translators may find this communicatively appropriate, the unconventionality of the usage of such terminologies may actually render the comprehension of the TT difficult to the audience, especially, considering the similarities possibly expressed between the expressions of the ST and those of the TT. The motivation behind such usages of terminologies may imply, though not always, the inadequacy in the TT language usage on the part of the translator and must be of great interest to explore especially to those in the practice and their audiences. The perceived difficulties are furthered by the autosegmental mounting of tone in Dholuo expressions without any orthographic equivalents, making the translators’ work rather difficult and their audiences/readers, sometimes, struggling with the comprehension of the translated texts.

This study relies on the contrastive analysis of particular excerpts in English and their translations into Dholuo. It, particularly, explores the place of tone in Dholuo grammar.

Key Words: Tone, Text, Source Text, Target Text, Comprehension, Translation, Equivalents

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ISSN (Paper)2224-5766 ISSN (Online)2225-0484

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