An Intercultural Criticism of New Testament Translations

by Jean-Claude Loba-Mkole

The aim of this study is to show similarities and differences betweenGreek and Swahili texts of the New Testament, especially at the lexical, morphological,syntactic, and semantic levels. It uses an intercultural approach that comparesGreek, Latin, and Swahili texts, and argues that there is a great deal ofsimilarity between the Greek and the Swahili languages at the grammatical level,except for the Greek deponent form, which has no formal equivalent in Swahili.One of the most striking lexical findings concerns the mismatch between theGreek form of Jesus’s name and its Latin or Swahili translations. Both Latin andSwahili do not have formal articles, while the Greek language uses them evenbefore proper names. The original, authentic, and meaningful form of Jesus’sname is the Hebrew or Aramaic עוּשׁוֹהיְ , or עַוּשׁיֵ (“he saves”). The Latin Iesusand the Swahili Yesu/Yezu stand as correspondent transliterations of the meaninglessGreek ὁ Ἰησοῦς. In a Latin Church culture, the meaning of a propername in itself may not be that important, but in the Swahili target culture aproper name is bound to be meaningful and informative through its own wording.Consequently, the Swahili Yehoshua or Yeshua would be a more consideraterendering of Jesus’s name in view of the target culture frame and that of the mostoriginal biblical culture.



Articles
The Invisibility of the African Interpreter
Jeanne Garane

"Les interprètes le font tourner dans un petit cercle d'intrigues.” (The interpreters keep him turning in a narrow circle of intrigues.) Robert Delavignette, Service africain

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Interviews
Interview with Robert J.C. Young

translation editor Siri Nergaard met with Robert J. C. Young in New Your City on September14th 2012 at the Nida Research Symposium.

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Reviews
Reflections on Translation
Paschalis Nikolaou

How does one reflect on translation? For Susan Bassnett, one of the world’s foremost thinkers in translation studies – it is a field she helped into being, no less – this is a question answered incrementally, and over time. Her Reflections on Translation collects critical pieces that appeared, for the most part, in the ITI Bulletin; their significance immediately connects to the author’s name, but the usefulness of – and often, sheer enjoyment in – reading them owes also to an adopted style and approach to communicating what’s really important. 

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