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1.0               The need and search for the appropriate means of communication among different languages of the world resulted in the study of translation among different communities in the world. As a result of increasing complexity of modern society, the act of translation has been recognized worldwide. Thus, the translation of indigenous literary works should not be an exception.

Since the literatures in the various indigenous languages in the country have a crucial role to play in forging a Nigeria national Cultural Identity, the need for translating indigenous literary works into English cannot be overemphasized.


Translation simply means the rendering of a written message from one language to another. Translation as an age-long practice has been used by different people to domesticate other people’s literature in order to enrich their own language.

Today, translation is not the prerogative of any nation or language. Many scholars who are literature orientated are striving to have as many translated works as possible in their own languages.

In Africa, translation started as an off-shoot of missionary activity. When the colonial masters arrived, it occurred to them that the highest tool needed to propagate their religion is language. It was also clear to them that the easiest way to capture the minds of Africans was to render their Holy books in local languages.

At this point, the first problem that faced them was lack of established orthographies in indigenous languages. So they established orthographies in some of the local languages and translated the Holy book into them. As a result of this, it is widely believed that the Church Missionary Society was the earliest pioneer of translation in many African Countries which Nigeria is one of them.

When the missionaries were translating the Bible, it was from English into Vernacularism i.e. from English into indigenous languages. This approach was different from the approach used in literary translation. While the bible was translated from English into Igbo language, literary translation took off in the opposite direction that is, from indigenous language into English language.

Following this trend, some folktales were translated from various Nigerian languages into English. One of such persons who carried out translation works was Robert G. Armstrong who translated Idoma folk literature and some Yoruba literary text into English respectively.

Some Igbo scholars like Romanus Egudu and Donatus Nwaoga published their work “Poetic heritage” “Igbo traditional Verse” and Egudu alone published “The Calabash of wisdom”. From what we have said so far, it is very clear that the race for literary translation did not start today.

Hence, this research work focuses on the translation of Adaeze by Inno Uzoma Nwadike into English language. Translating this Igbo novel into English will give those that do not understand Igbo language the opportunity to benefit and enjoy the Igbo ideology and world view depicted in this novel Adaeze.

In fact, rendering this novel into English is worthwhile endeavor as the non-Igbo speakers who understand English will benefit immensely from it.


Many indigenous Igbo writers are only known by Igbo speakers due to the fact that their works have not been translated into English language. As a result of this, non Igbo speakers do not benefit from the rich experiences of these Igbo scholars and creative writers. Thus, there is the need to bridge the gap by translating indigenous literary works into English which the researcher feels is a worthwhile adventure that will create a wider readership of such work.


          Today, there are many creative writings in indigenous languages which have not been translated into English or other languages other than those in which they are written. This explains why many Nigerian writers in indigenous languages like Saadu Zungur (Hausa), Afolabi Olabintan (Yoruba), F.C. Ogbalu, Inno Uzoma Nwadike (Igbo) etc. are not much known to the speakers of other languages.

Thus, the purpose of this study is to make it possible for the English language speaker to benefit from the Igbo ideology and worldview depicted in this novel and also creates wider readership opportunity.


          The scope of this study will be limited to translating the text/Novel Adaeze authored by Inno Uzoma Nwadike into English language.


The data available to the researcher seems to portray that not much has been done in translating many Igbo novels into English. As a result of this, this research work will add something new to scholarship in the area of literary translation and therefore serve as reference point for other researchers.

Thus it is hoped that attention of further researchers will be drawn towards researching further in this area of study.




Scholars look at translation from different perspectives and the perspectives shape the way they define the term translation. In this section, we are going to look at the views of some scholars concerning the term translation.

One of such scholars is Darbalnet (1977) who defines translation as

an exercise which consists in transferring from one language to another, all the elements which ensures that they retain in target language their relative importance as well as their tonality and also taking into account their relative differences presented by culture to which the source and the target corresponds respectively.

Nwankwere (1997) defines translation as “the verbal or non-verbal re-expression of a message inherent in a given communication”.

Ughuegbu (1994) quotes weireich (1933:1)  defining the term as “Language in contact and therefore a phenomenon of bilingualism”.

Ughuegbu (1994) also quotes Newmark (1976) as defining translation as “an exercise which consists in the attempt to replace a written message in another language”.

On the website, wordnetprincetonedu/perl/webwin, translation is defined as “a written communication in a second language having the same meaning as the written communication in a first”.

Eke and Ugorji (1999:2) cited MCGuire (1980:2) thus:

Translation has to do with the rendering of a source language (SL)     text to a target language (TL) so as to ensure that (i) the surface  meaning of the two will be approximately similar and (ii) the  structure of the (SL) will be preserved as closely that the target  language (TL) will be distorted.

For this scholar, preservation of the structure of the source language is very essential while translating a text.

Nwadike (1997) defines translation as “a means of communication borne of cultural contacts and interactions between the speakers of different languages”.

Mba (1993:10) citing Hornby (1942) defines translation as “giving the meaning of something said or written in another language”.

On web (wordnet Princeton Education per webwin) translation is also defined as:

“An activity comprising the interpretation of the meaning of a text and production of a new, equivalent text in another language-called the target text, or translation”.

From the above definition, it is clear that what is expected in a good translation is equivalent in meaning of both target and source languages. That is, sending the message in the source language (SL) to the target language (TL) without much distortion.

In Rutledge Encyclopedia of Translation Studies (1998:) translation is defined as “a process of inter-cultural communication whose end product is a text which is capable of functioning approximately in specific situations and context of use”

New Encyclopedia Britannica (1973:10) defines translation as “the act or process of rendering what is expressed in one language or a set of symbols by means of another language or set of symbols”.

Idika (2009:8) citing Roger (1991:5) defines translation as “the expression in another language (or target language) or what has been expressed in another language (source language), preserving semantic and stylistic equivalence”.

Thus, one common thing in all the definitions above is that, in translation, more than one language or dialect most be involved.

Ughuegbu (1994) supports this motion thus:

One common denominator in all the definitions of the term proposed by different scholars:

Mounim, (1963); Vinay and Darbelenet (1977);

Ladmiral (1979); Nida and Taber, 1969; J.C.C. Cartford, (1965);

  1. Brower (1959); is that it is an activity involving two different

languages trying to say ‘exactly’ the same thing.

Hence, translation involves two or more languages or dialect, it is worthy of mentioning at this point that what is to be translated must fall under two major categories-technical and literary translation.

So as the topic of this research falls under literary translation, a brief definition of literary translation is necessary here.

Literary translation simply refers to the translation of literary works like novels, plays, poems etc. Literary translation is very challenging because texts are produced and received in a very complex manner. While tackling literary translation, the translator is expected to duplicate in the target language the author’s artistic creation, grasp the spirit of the original and find the most appropriate expression of the author’s thought and feeling. A piece of literary translation is said to be good if the translator reproduces fully and correctly in the target language the context and form of the original in a literary language. The view expressed by Robinson in Rutledge Encyclopedia of translation studies (1998:127) supports the above assertions. It goes thus:


Literary translators are involved at a keen point of Culture convergence because they translate those works which for whatever reasons are selected for translation and which now exist where  otherwise there would be silence.

While dealing with literary translation, we sometimes find out that it exists in a complex environment due to difference in belief, culture and world view of the source language (SL) and target language (TL). Thus, whenever we are faced with this complex situation, it is necessary to bear in mind that the receiving culture exerts a strong influence on the translation decision and that most translation conforms to the constraints imposed by the target system.

In supporting the above view, Toury (1980:54) in Rutledge

Encyclopedia of translation studies (1998:132) says:                        

The norms, models and strategies employed in a given translation  cannot be understood in isolation from the dominant and/or peripheral  literary and culture environment in which the translation has to function. The environment is complex and is generally defined in terms of the target culture rather than the source culture.


In highlighting the difference between literary translation and others, Ajunwa (1991:23) opines that:

The easiest way of distinguishing literary translation

From the other domains is by examining literary language. It is Flooded with figures of speech which provide some sort of natural camouflage for the author’s message. All these characteristic features have serious implications for translation.

The above assertion clearly shows that literacy language is not always straight forward. It is a type of language that is difficult for a lay man to understand because the meaning is always encapsulated in figures of speech.

Consequently, it is the aesthetic nature of literary work that makes it difficult for translation. In fact, in literary work, the importance of translation cannot be over emphasized since it is through translation that the literature in different languages can be made available to the speakers of various languages of the world.

2.2              EMPIRICAL STUDY:

In this particular area of study, not much has been done in Igbo language. Among the few research works done in this area of study is the work of the missionary. In Africa, translation started as an offshoot of missionary activity. With the advent of the missionaries during the colonial era, they felt that translating Bible into some local languages will enhance their work of Christianization. But there was lack of an established orthography in the indigenous languages which hindered their efforts toward that direction.

As a result of this, they started establishing orthographies for some of the local languages which Igbo languages was one of them and translated the Bible into those languages. Nwadike (1998) confirmed that by the middle of the last century Bible had been rendered into Igbo, Yoruba, Kanuri, Efik etc through the effort of the church missionary society.

After translating Bible into some indigenous language, some missionaries equally showed interest in translating some Nigerian indigenous literature into English. For instance, S.W. KOELLE published his African Native Literature containing Kanuri proverbs, tales, fables and historical fragments in 1854.

This was followed by J.F. Schon’s Magana Hausa, a book of Hausa proverb, tales and fables which was published in 1885. they, African Native Literature and Magana Hausa were the earliest recorded literacy translation in Nigeria.

Another scholar that did some work in this area is Osudare (1995). In his work, he lists some methods of translating lexical items into target language. Among what he lists are lexical compounding and lexical transference.

Fafowora (1999) also does a practical work to support the evidence that loan and retention are popular methods of translating lexical items into lexical items of different languages. Below is his illustration of the origin of some English terms.

Original language                    Term                    English Version

Persian                                    Talc                      Talc

Ewe(Ghana)                         Kwashioko           Kwashiorkor

Spanish                                 Cascara                Cascara

Arabic                               Syrup                              Syrup

Latin                                  Piturta                       Pituita (ry)

Dutch                                    Cough                   Cough

Greek                                    Atari                     Artery

From the above illustration, one can see that English has borrowed extensively from many languages. While borrowing, it either renders the words into its phonology or loans the words both semantically and phonologically.

In Emenyeonu (1996), suggestion is that dialectal sourcing or Igbonised loan will be the best alternative where there are no Igbo equivalents for some words or items from other language of the world.

For Ukeje (1997 : 7), she analyses the strategies of terminology development. She points out that techniques and strategies used in developing terms revolve mainly around coinage and borrowing. She outlines some ways through which terminologies could be developed. These, according to her, include:

Composition – which involves a noun derived though nominalization or noun – noun construction. Example

English                                                                           Igbo

Currency                                                                        Akwụkwọ ego

(paper money)

Semantic extension –      which involves the expansion or extension of the meaning of existing word to embrace a new meaning


English                                                                 Igbo

Bicycle                                                                 Anyịnya Igwe

(Horse Iron)

Church                                                                 Ụlọ ụka

(house Christianity)

Special coinage –            Formation of special word which not only is inexistent in a language, but its use is confined to the register of the language’s literary or linguistic metalanguage.


English                                                                           Igbo

100 (one hundred)                                                         Narị

1,000 (one thousand)                                                     Puku

100,000 (one hundred thousand)                                   Narị puku

1000,000 (one million)                                                  Nde

Loan words etc –            New technique or unknown concept is borrowed from another language without translating it


English                                    Hausa                                       Igbo

Pap                                          Kamu                                      Akamụ

Quotient                                     –                                  Kwoshenti

Hence, from the examples of those words cited above, we can summarize by saying that they formed a big step – forward in translation study.

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