Thanks to those who tried to help. They raised over 320 thousand naira so far, but it was either too little or too late. Or both.
art. language. travel
Q: Thinking about your main target language, what would you say are your biggest challenges when translating from English into that language?
A: The biggest, classical, problem in English to Yoruba translation is the problem of one-to-one equivalents. There are expressions in English that cannot be rendered with the same number of words in Yoruba (“I’m sorry” is one). There are also tones of those in Yoruba as well, that you can’t express in English without having to write an epistle. (“pẹlẹ” is one such, or “ẹ kú ilé).
It is a “problem” easily surmounted if the target text allows for it. But while translating for mobile communication, or computer/software jobs, it forces one to be creative, since the client usually requires one-to-one translation as much as possible, and there is usually not enough space to elaborate.
The other problem is that of diacritics – the fact that tone and vowel markings in Yoruba need to be present to avoid ambiguity. While most computers can be manipulated to place the tone marks on the translated words, many software may not be able to process them, and some clients don’t have need for them, so the translator is forced to send in products that are unsatisfactory and can cause ambiguity.
Read more of my interview with Translate Africa, on my work in translation, the #tweetYoruba project, language attitudes, among others, here.
Writer and friend, Deji Toye, takes on my latest review of Segun Adefila’s production of A Dance of the Forest and produces something fine and beautiful – a wide and robust review of not just the work itself and the genius of its creator but the director’s work in particular, and his influences. An excerpt:
Adefila’s discipline could produce a revue on the point of a pin. Then, as a director, he has that propensity to strip a script to its bare essence and recast it in a mould all his own. A director who pushes the directorial licence farther than most, for him, a constant Brechtian jolt of his audiences to see through the seductive entertainments of the show into their own shocking reality is almost an obligation. And to achieve this, that stand-up comic trick of ‘something happened on the way to the theatre’ is an artistic reality.
The great god Shango in the African sea
reached down with palm oil and oozed out me.
Henry Dumas, “Knees of a Natural Man” (1989)
Dumas’ Rebirth in Word-Deed
Awake as a quake, dreamin’ Henry wrought
Hank into “Ankh,” Dumas into “Samud.” Named
his poems “sabas” & “ikefs,” his friends
“Headeye” & “Jonoah,” his settings “Sweetwater” &
“Harlem,” his vessels “afro-horn” & “soul-
boat,” his heroes “Probe” & “Sun Ra”
& his brothers “Fon” & “cosmic arrows.”
Eugene B. Redmond, “Arkansippi Memwars . . .” (TWP 2013)
Writer Henry Lee Dumas (1934-1968)–whose posthumously published works include “Ark of Bones,” “Jonoah and the Green Stone,” “Knees of a Natural Man” (poems) and “Echo Tree”–would have been 80-years-old today (July 20). Born in Sweet Home (Arkansas), and raised in Harlem from the age of 10, he was a teacher at Southern Illinois University’s Experiment in Higher Education (East St. Louis).
Among his colleagues at EHE were Katherine Dunham, Edward Crosby, Joyce Ladner, Oliver Jackson, Hale Chatfield and yours truly. As literary executor of the Dumas estate (with the consent of his widow, Loretta Dumas), I have received invaluable support from Toni Morrison, Amiri Baraka, Maya Angelou and James Baldwin (among scores of others) over the past 46 years. Morrison, who called Dumas “magnetic” and “a genius, an absolute genius,” published his works while an editor at Random House, noting that a “very deserved cult” had grown up around him. One “cult” member, the late Jayne Cortez, referred to collective efforts to keep his work before a reading-listening-studying public as “the Henry Dumas Movement.” The Henry L. Dumas Foundation, whose goal is to create a namesake Library and Cultural Center, has been established in Sweet, Arkansas.
HD is patron saint of the East St. Louis-based EBR Writers Club which turned 28 this year. –EBR