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vol.60 número4-1Another translation of the Bible in Afrikaans: What makes it different? índice de autoresíndice de assuntospesquisa de artigos
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Tydskrif vir Geesteswetenskappe

versão On-line ISSN 2224-7912
versão impressa ISSN 0041-4751


NAUDE, JA. New and old treasures: The 2020 Afrikaans translation of the Bible as a retranslation. Tydskr. geesteswet. [online]. 2020, vol.60, n.4-1, pp.869-891. ISSN 2224-7912.

The aim of this article is to analyse and describe the 2020 Afrikaans translation of the Bible as a retranslation in the historical context of previous Bible translations in Afrikaans. The earliest attempts to translate the Bible into Afrikaans started with the attempts of the Bible Translation Movement (1872-1911). This attempt failed, because the dominant Dutch language and the Statenvertaling were preferred to the dominated Afrikaans "dialect". The second attempt followed from the initiative of the churches (1916-1923) as part of the Afrikaans language movement after the Anglo-Boer War (1899-1902). Because of the interference of the Dutch from the Statenvertaling during a time when the Afrikaans language became important to Afrikaner identity, the translation of the Gospels and the Psalms into Afrikaans (1922) failed. The first complete translation of the Bible into Afrikaans, a word-for-word or literal translation, was published in 1933 and a revised version in 1953. The 1933/1953 Afrikaans translation of the Bible forms part of the great age of Bible translations ushered in by the Protestant Reformation; this era lasted up to 1960, when the field of Translation Studies was established. The use of the same Hebrew and Greek source texts used for the Statenvertaling lent authority to this translation and it eventually replaced the Statenvertaling in the Afrikaansspeaking community. The next translation was a retranslation. The term "retranslation" in this article refers to multiple translations of a source text, which may vary, into one language, which is also not a stable variable. Revision (editing, correcting, modernisation) of an existing translation for re-publication is not seen as retranslation, but may lead to retranslation. Under the influence of Eugene Nida a retranslation of the complete Bible in Afrikaans followed, namely a dynamic equivalent translation in 1983. As a dynamic equivalent translation the 1983 translation of the Bible in Afrikaans was part of the first generation of translations that began a great new age in Bible translation. In 2007 Die Bybel vir Dowes (The Bible for the Deaf), which was also published as Die Bybel vir Almal (The Bible for All), and a number of commercial translations reflect the tendency to provide simplified versions for specific purposes, calledfunctionalist translations according to Nord (1997). Simplified versions form part of the second-generation translations of the great new age of Bible translations of the second half of the twentieth century. The next complete Bible translation in Afrikaans will be published in 2020 and will form part of Bible translations such as The Schocken Bible (1995, 2014), The Common English Bible (CEB) (2011) and The Hebrew Bible (2019), which introduced the next generation of Bible translations. As early as 1997 some Afrikaans churches requested the Bible Society of South Africa to produce a new translation in a more formal register that would be suitable for liturgical use and reflect the source texts in a formal equivalent way that would be more suitable for serious readers and Bible study groups. After intensive academic/scholarly research and market surveys, it was decided on 25 October 2004 to proceed with such a translation. The translation approach was what Nord (1991, 1997) termed functionalist. The translation brief was to produce a source-textoriented translation of the Hebrew and Greek source texts that renders meaning and culture directly into contemporary Afrikaans using a simplified version of the model proposed by Gutt (2000). The translation process started during 2006 and went through five phases. More than 142 co-workers from 26 Afrikaans denominations contributed to the translation process. The last meeting was held on 2 May 2019 and the translation was handed to the BSA on 1 July 2019 for publication. This article, using mainly Mona Baker's narrative frame theory, analyses and describes the translation as a retranslation. Any new translation constructs a representation of the alterity (otherness) of a foreign text and culture, which representation at the same time relates to intelligibility and to ideology. One should not evaluate a translation normatively but rather describe or narrate its linguistically inscribed preferences in the choice and construction of discourses. The 2020 translation is analysed and explained with respect to the way particular sociohistorical, sociocultural, and translational frames may have influenced the translation. The organisational frame deals with issues such as the context of the translation, its source texts, the translation team, the translation process and product, and the possible sociocultural impact of the translation. By using metatexts/paratexts to explain and make accessible the otherness of the source text culture to readers, the translation prevents reductionism with emphasis either on form (as in the 1933 translation) or on meaning (as in the case of the 1983 translation). The 2020 translation is a response to the indigenising strategies of the 1983 translation, while incorporating many of its cultural concepts metatextually in footnotes and an extensive word list. For those individuals and Afrikaansspeaking denominations that rejected the 1983 translation, the 2020 translation is in intertextual dialogue with the translation of 1933, representing the alterity of the incipient Hebrew and Greek texts, while pointing to the incipient cultural context in metatextual footnotes. In complexity thinking, which introduces the next generation of Bible translations, the otherness or alterity of the source culture is respected and retained, on the one hand, but, on the other hand, the translations are also made intelligible. The results of this study confirm Albachten and Gürgaglar's description (2019) of retranslation as a complex process involving a network approach that identifies historical and synchronic relations between texts, institutions or contexts, and agents. New forms of Bible translations emerge from semiotic processes as we move forward in time, so keeping the Bible alive. This is what the 2020 Afrikaans translation of the Bible wants to achieve: to discover new treasures, but also to preserve and to renew old treasures.

Palavras-chave : translation studies; narrative frame theory; Bible translation; Mona Baker; Eugene Nida; Christiane Nord; Ernst-August Gutt; word-for-word translation; literal translation; dynamic equivalent translation; functional translation; functionalist translation; direct translation; complexity; Afrikaans.

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