A contrastive linguistic study of selected English–Yoruba translated courtroom proceedings in Kwara State.

Oloruntola, Grace Toyin (2014)



This study identified and categorised the forms of interpretation used by the interpreters in three Magistrate Courts in Kwara State. In addition, it described the lexico-semantic and grammatical content of the selected English proceedings and contrasted these with that of the Yoruba translations as it relates to meaning preservation, distortion and modification. It also commented on the implications of translation in the context of courtroom discourse in English as Second Language environment. This was done with a view to examining the theory and practice of Yoruba-English translation. Data for the study were drawn from primary and secondary sources. The primary source comprised recorded courtroom proceedings. The courts from which the proceedings were drawn are three purposively selected Magistrate Courts in Kwara State namely: Magistrate Court Ilorin, Magistrate Court Offa, and Magistrate Court Omu-Aran. Two magistrate courts (i.e., Magistrate Court Offa and Magistrate Court Omu-Aran) were selected from Kwara South Senatorial District while Magistrate Court Ilorin was selected from Kwara Central Senatorial District. These are two out of the three senatorial districts in Kwara State. The third senatorial district was not covered because Yoruba is not dominant in the area. Three interpreters were randomly selected from each court and three proceedings were also selected from each court; this means that altogether there were nine proceedings and nine interpreters. The proceedings included both civil and criminal litigations. The secondary data were books, journals and the Internet. The lexico–semantic, grammatical content in relation to meaning preservation, distortion and modification in the texts were analysed using the Newmark Translation Theory. The results showed that all the courtroom interpreters in the chosen courts employed the consecutive form of interpretation in the courtroom to interprete the text from the source language to the target language. Also, the study showed that the interpreters allowed their cultural background and beliefs to reflect in the interpretation of the texts. This made the interpreted texts which were to be in the direct speech to be rendered in the indirect speech, and consequently the use of honourifics in the target texts. Furthermore, due to the lack of equivalent word for some words used in the source text, the interpreter omitted those words in the target texts and this accounted for meaning distortion and meaning modification in the target texts. The interpreters were however able to preserve meaning mainly at the lexical level. The study concluded that interpretation if not well handled by the interpreters could lead to misrepresentation of the message/text which could affect the response of the non-English speaker and the outcome of the judgement.