Publication details [#10348]

Amosu, Tundonu. 1988. Sociology and the translator: Soyinka in translation. Babel 34 (3) : 141–151.
Publication type
Article in jnl/bk
Publication language
Source language
Target language
Person as a subject
Journal DOI


A true translation is one which reads as if the text has been written in the source language. Therefore ideas have to be transfered coherently from one language into another. Others talk of obtaining 'equivalent sensations'. Above all the translator has to be familiar with the contextual cultural situation. This constitutes the main point of this study of the difficulties in translation with reference to the plays of Wole Soyinka: The Swamp Dwellers, The Strong Breed and The Trials of Brother Jero, all translated into French by Elisabeth Janvier. This paper attempts to highlight some instances of improper appraisal of the contextual cultural situation, mistakes which can only be ascribed to ignorance in spite of the obviously good intentions of an otherwise competent translator.
Source : P. Van Mulken