Phonological and Sociolinguistic Challenges of Translating Yorùbá Play, and Game Songs to Singable English for Children


Observation of available translated Yoruba oral literature for children reveals that compared to Yoruba folktales translated to English and published in diverse formats, Yoruba play and game songs do not appear to enjoy the same attention or visibility in the available resources for children. The relatively few existing ones lack the Yoruba ‘flavor’ and socio-cultural nuances. Furthermore, those existing song translations rarely consider singableness and suitability in terms of the choice of segmental features, onomatopoeic cultural differences, and age-appropriate lexical items. Consequently, the translations are “unperformable” as oral texts, thus, failing their aesthetic and functional purpose for children. To investigate the translation problems involved and proffer solutions, this essay analyses five randomly selected Yoruba songs and seven of their available English translations from online sources and an unpublished manuscript, using sociolinguistic translation theory and the analytical framework of Franzon’s song translation choices.
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Copyright (c) 2022 Bolanle O. Sogunro


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