Volume 6, No. 1 
January 2002

  J. Venter





Happy New Year!

Index 1997-2002

  Translator Profiles
Truth, Love, and Prehistory
by Nicholas Hartmann, Ph.D.

  The Profession
The Bottom Line
by Fire Ant & Worker Bee
Sounding the Language-Elephant's Trumpet— (a guide for intelligent buyers of translation services)
by Paul Sutton
Sounding the Language-Elephant's Trumpet (Cont.)
by Paul Sutton

Literary Translation
Cultural Elements in Translation—The Indian Perspective
by C. Thriveni  
Translation and Culture
by Alejandra Patricia Karamanian

  Machine Translation
Toward Corpus-Based Machine Translation for Standard Arabic
by Mathieu Guidère, Ph.D.

  Translator Education
A Skeleton in the Closet—Teaching Translation in Egyptian National Universities
by Moustafa Gabr, FIL

  Translators Around the World
Mammoth Translation Task Undertaken for Education
by Johann Venter

  Science & Technology
A Translator’s Guide to Organic Chemical Nomenclature XXVI
by Chester E. Claff, Jr., Ph.D.

  Caught in the Web
Web Surfing for Fun and Profit
by Cathy Flick, Ph.D.
Translators’ On-Line Resources
by Gabe Bokor

  Translators’ Tools
Translation Tools Today: A Personal View
by Danilo Nogueira
Translators’ Emporium

Letters to the Editor

Translators’ Events

Call for Papers and Editorial Policies
Translation Journal
Around the World

Mammoth Translation Task

Undertaken for Education

by Johann Venter

n South Africa, at the southernmost point of the African continent, multilingualism is now awakening—at last. Up to the time apartheid was ended, South Africa only had two official languages, namely English and Afrikaans. Now, according to our Constitution, we have eleven official languages in our young democracy. And for the first time the national Department of Education decided that the newly developed curriculum documents (the so-called National Curriculum Statement) for grades 1 to 9 should be translated into the different official languages. Prior to the first democratic election of 1994, these documents would only have been published in English and Afrikaans.

During July 2001, forty translators (four per language) who are speakers of the ten other official languages (English being excluded as the curriculum documents were all developed in English) gathered in Pretoria for four weeks in order to translate the curriculum documents into isiZulu, isiXhosa, Sepedi, Afrikaans, Setswana, Siswati, isiNdebele, Tshivenda, Sesotho and Xitsonga. Except for Afrikaans, which is a Germanic language (and developed mainly from 17th Century Dutch), all the other languages belong to the family of Bantu Languages. (We in South Africa usually refer to these languages as African Languages.)

For all the translators involved this venture has been an enormous challenge. The main reason for this being the fact that many new terms had to be coined in the different languages. This was especially true for the African languages, which do not have the same long tradition of having been actively developed and supported by the State for many years as is the case with Afrikaans.

My sincere wish is that this mammoth task will be to the benefit of all in South Africa. And that multilingualism will not be just an ideal expressed in our Constitution, but that all South Africans will embrace this ideal and work actively in making it a reality in our country. After all: language rights are human rights.