Citation: SATI Prize for Outstanding Literary Translation 2015


TITLE OF THE AFRIKAANS TRANSLATION: Skaduselfby Elsa Silke (published without the translator’s name mentioned)

It is remarkable that the Afrikaans translation by this year’s winner appeared without the translator’s name being mentioned. This meant that certain literary critics and many readers were misled and had no idea which version was the original and which the translation. This error contributes in no small measure to the Afrikaans translation truly being able to stand as a literary work in its own right. The idiomatic language in the speech in the book in particular – both in thoughts and dialogue – ensures credible characterisation in the Afrikaans translation as the characters ‘age’ and as the voice of the main character varies between ‘normal’ and psychotic episodes as she sinks deeper and deeper into the depths of post-natal depression after the birth of each of her two younger children. And it is precisely at this level that the boundaries between the hard reality of post-partum depression, post-natal psychosis, disphoria, suicide and infanticide as universal themes are so skillfully woven into fiction that the reader finds it difficult to put this book down. The translation would make an excellent subject for a case study on the way in which the translation manages to disguise the translator’s voice altogether. This book is a worthy example of the type of translation that get full marks for outstanding literary translation: natural language, a current topic, a gripping style and excellent reception in the target culture. The translator Elsa Silke deserves this recognition for a brilliant translation, which she had to forego when it was first published!

Alet Kruger, Annette Combrink, Ilse Feinauer

Citation: SATI Prize for Outstanding Non-Fiction Translation 2015

Three books were entered for the category: Non-Fiction Translation, viz. “JM COETZEE: A Life in Writing”, translated into English by Michiel Heyns; “DF Malan en die opkoms van Afrikaner-nasionalisme”, translated into Afrikaans by Lindie Koorts and “Text Editing: A handbook for students and practitioners” translated into English by John Linnegar et al. The latter was disqualified as large parts of the book were not translatable and had to be adapted to the English language. Heyns’ book, though well-translated, contained a few mundane flaws and stylistic errors. Some of these problems could be attributed to the untimely death of JCKannemeyer on 25 December 2011, the author of the Afrikaans version of this book. It is unclear how these slipped into the English version which was published in 2012.

As with most things that go unnoticed because they have been done so well, Koorts’ translation is only deserving of praise. Hermann Giliomee’s words in Rapport (March 9, 2014) are quite ironic from the point of view that this is a translation. He says: “Die Afrikaanse geskiedskrywing het weer sy voete gevind” (historical writing in Afrikaans has found its feet again) and concludes: “Sy slaag ook in die groot uitdaging om die leser mee te voer en selfs te boei en terselfdertyd aan die eise van professionale geskiedskrywing te voldoen” (she succeeds in the great challenge of letting the reader get carried away, even to fascinate, as well as to satisfy the demands put to a professional piece of historical writing) indicating that the translation has been done so seamlessly, the reader doesn’t find him/herself looking at the words and wondering whether they have in fact been translated. As such, DF Malan en die opkoms van Afrikaner-nasionalisme is deserving of the SATI prize for outstanding translation in the non-fiction translation category.

Ilze Brüggemann, Gretha Aalbers, Thys Human

Citation: SATI Prize for Outstanding Translation of Children’s Literature 2015

The 2015 winner is Naòmi Morgan for her translations Oskar en die pienk tannie and Monsieur Ibrahim en die blomme van die Koran. These translations from the original French of the classic Oscar et la dame rose and Monsieur Ibrahim et les Fleurs de Coran by Eric-Emmanuel Schmitt kan be seen as a milestone in South-African children’s literature and can even be compared with the Afrikaans translation of Le petit Prince by Antoine de Saint-Exupéry. Morgan is a seasoned translator, known in particular for her translations of songs from Afrikaans into French and from French into Afrikaans, but also for translations of plays and films. She is responsible for the only Afrikaans translation of the 2008 Nobel Prize winner Jean-Marie Gustave le Clézio’s L’Africain. To top it all, she this year received a knighthood from the French government for her contribution to the promotion of French culture in South Africa. The jurors are pleased that she is now also being honoured for her work in the field of literature for children and the youth.

Her translations convey the word and the spirit of the original French texts almost perfectly. Monsieur Ebrahim ... in particular impressed the jurors with the way in which the smells, colours, sounds and ambience of the ordinary streets of Paris and the ecosystems of the suburbs were faithfully conveyed. The reader feels immersed in that word, like a fly on the wall.

The jurors would like to highlight the natural and idiomatic language used and the fact that the translator was so successful is creating – in pure but everyday Afrikaans – two apparently so widely differing registers, that of an old lady and an old gentleman and that of a young child. Her translations remain true to the essence, the style and the tone of the original writer and the source, but in such a way that an Afrikaans-speaking child on another continent has no difficulty understanding it.

The jurors feel that the translation of children’s literature from French possibly has more meaning for the Afrikaans-speaking reading public that the translation of works from English and to a certain extent even from Dutch, because these languages are generally so much more accessible to the Afrikaans-speaking public. English is today almost 100% accessible, even to very young children, through exposure to electronic media and the wide public use of English as the lingua franca in our country. The reading public thus has easy access to original texts and is not so reliant on good translations in Afrikaans. In France, Eric-Emmanuel Schmitt is regarded as one of the great writers – "un grand" – in the company of the likes of Victor Hugo, Alexandre Dumas, Proust and so on. French is an important world language, an important academic and scientific language, and also an African language, and the translation of French works tus opens up new worlds to the Afrikaans reading public. The outstanding reception for the stage adaptation of Oskar en die pienk tannie, for example, makes this clear.

Professor Naòmi Morgan is a thoroughly worthy winner of the SATI Prize for Outstanding Translation of Children’s Literature for 2015.

Thomas van der Walt, Franci Greyling, Emma Lotriet

Citation: SATI Prize for Outstanding Translation Dictionaries 2015

The unanimous recommendation by the representative jury appointed by the SATI Council is that the bilingual/trilingual dictionary Legal Terminology: Criminal Law, Procedure and Evidence(abbreviated to LT) published by Juta should be awarded the SATI Prize for Outstanding Translation Dictionaries for 2015.

LT is a product of the initiative of the Centre for Legal Terminology in African Languages (CLTAL). It is the first bilingual, explanatory Afrikaans/English/Afrikaans dictionary in a planned series covering the legal terminology of criminal law, criminal procedural law and law of evidence for all the South African official languages.

LT meets the following criteria:

  • Compilers: CT relies on the input of a very large, diversified group of voluntary experts as part of its working procedures (cf. Introduction, p. vi): members of the legal profession (e.g. lawyers, magistrates, court interpreters), translators, academics, members of language boards, linguists, terminologists, terminographers, researchers and anthropologists.
  • General production criteria: LT is of a high standard in terms of appearance and quality of printing and allows for easy referencing.
  • Lexicographic problems and solutions: The design of LT is informed by a clear problem statement and lexicographic solution. Despite the constitutional right of all South African citizens to “access to justice” in a language that they understand, they often have problems in understanding the legalese of law. LT is also the outcome of the numerous problems with legal terminology that translators, interpreters and other officials encounter when translating legal documents, compiling legislation and interpreting in court, especially in the African languages, as legal terminology in African languages either does not exist or is inadequate.LT is a first step towards dealing with this problem: ensuring the rights of the accused in court proceedings and facilitating the role of translators in this regard. The focus of the dictionaries in the series on the domains of criminal law, criminal procedural law and law of evidence is based on a needs assessment done by the then National Terminology Service which “indicated a primary need for terminology in criminal law and related domains” (Introduction, pp. vi, vii).
  • Compilation process: The section Explanatory Notes and Lay-Out of the Dictionary provides a brief but clear exposition of the principles and practice of the compilation of (LT as) a special-purpose dictionary.
  • Macrostructure:LT consists of three word lists.Part Iand Part III deal with English/Afrikaans and Afrikaans/English listings. Latin lemmas are organized alphabetically within these two word lists. In the English/Afrikaans word list the English translation of the Latin term is followed by the Afrikaans translation, and the order is reversed in the Afrikaans/Englishsection.

Although described as a bilingual explanatory dictionary covering the relationship between Afrikaans and English legal vocabulary, LT also relates the use of Latin legal terms to Afrikaans and English. Considering Latin legal terms as part of the legal vocabulary of Afrikaans and English (the situation adopted by the compilers) makes it a bilingual dictionary.

  • Microstructure:In principle (although not always in practice), LT provides for a rich micro structure for articles: indication of lemmas, definitions, equivalents, synonyms, homonyms, polysemes, examples, cross-references, and parts of speech are given where relevant.
  • The dictionary complies with the structure of the dictionary typology – i.e. a bilingual bidirectional dictionary for the special language (Afrikaans and English) of criminal law, criminal procedural law and law of evidence. It is evident that the compilers undertook in-depth research on the principles and practice of LSP dictionaries before compiling the dictionary.
  • The front matter assists with dictionary usage and meets the needs of the target users. The front matter gives a clear indication of the dictionary features in both languages.
  • The nominated dictionary is able to stand as a reference tool in its own right.
  • This dictionary is a significant source to assist the target language communities since it caters for the needs of a variety of users.
  • The dictionary is a significant and necessary reference work to serve as basis for the planning and production of LSP dictionaries in the rest of the planned series, covering all the South African languages.
  • This dictionary contributes towards promoting legal discourse in the source and target languages since it contains the words most likely to be searched for in the fields of criminal law, criminal procedural law and law of evidence.
  • The compilers have gone the extra mile to present the text in a very user-friendly way.
  • The well-researched material fills a huge void that has existed for decades.
  • The lexicographical principles and procedures followed by the compilers of the dictionary indicate that they are professionals in the trade: they are also language practitioners who are proficient in the source and target languages (Afrikaans/English/Afrikaans).

It therefore gives us pleasure to recommendLegal Terminology: Criminal Law, Procedure and Evidence to receive the SATI Prize for Outstanding Translation Dictionaries.

Piet Swanepoel, Victor Mojela, Pumlani Sibula

Citation: SATI Student Prize 2015

The study makes a practical contribution to the area of translation. It produces a translation into Afrikaans of an Akkadian epic (using an English translation as source text) which forms part of world literature, and which was not formerly available in Afrikaans. The examiners agree that the translation is of excellent quality and that attempts to have a full Afrikaans version published should be repeated.

The annotations to the practical translation, which explain how the author of the study dealt with and solved translation problems, especially regarding the translation of taboo topics for children, could be consulted by translators confronted with similar problems. The choices made in the translation have been successful.

The study adds academic value to the field of translation as it extends the concept of “translation” by theorising about the processes and techniques of “rewriting” in translation. The examiners recommend the publication of aspects of the dissertation in article format which indicates that they believe the research is well-argued and well-written.

By applying work by Lefevere and Venuti, the author demonstrates that theoretical concepts from the field of translation studies can indeed be useful to practising translators and that the perceived gap between theory and practice can be bridged.

The fact that both examiners awarded the work a distinction indicates that the dissertation is of a high quality.

The jurors agree that the dissertation meets the criteria for the SATI Student Prize, and the candidate deserves to be awarded this Prize.