The Problem of Meaning Equivalence in the Translation of Literary Text: The Example of Soyinka's A Forest of a Thousand Demons

Ojo, Gordon Oluwaseyi (1985)


This study sets out to examine the gap created in translation by the non-existence of meaning equivalence between Soyinka's A Forest a Thousand Demons and Fagunwa's Ogboju Ode Ninu Igbo irunmale The examination of the meaning gap between the two texts is made through a retranslation into English Via. Yoruba approach. Items from the source text, Ogboju Ode Ninu Igbo Irunmale are compared with their translated counterparts in the target text, A Forest of a Thousand Demons. It is discovered that while some of the items are adequately translated in terms of meaning, some are not. It is also observed that the problem of non-existence of meaning equivalence in translation is attributable to both Socio-Cultural and Linguistic factors. Furthermore, the various approaches used by Soyinka to overcome the problem of meaning-equivalence in translation and their degree of success were also examined. In conclusion, it is noted that although the non existence of meaning-equivalence is a real problem in translation, it is not a total block to the process of translation. That is, the problem can be overcome if the translator takes into consideration a number of factors.