The Shona Bible and the politics of bible translation
PublisherEdinburgh University Press, http://www.euppublishing.com/
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The article discusses the politics of bible translation focusing on the Shona Bible. Specifically it looks at the translation of the word 'banquetings' into 'mabira' in the Union Shona Bible, the first complete translation of the Shona Bible. It also discusses the history of the translation of the Bible from the time the missionaries arrived among the Shona peoples in the 1890s to the time when the first complete Bible was translated into the Shona language in the late 1940s. It discusses the political and cultural factors that influenced the way the Bible was translated. How did missionaries’ understanding of the Shona worldview influence their translation? How did the translators address the dialectical differences in the Shona language considering that it has five dialects? How did Shona cosmology and spirituality influence translation? To answer these and other questions concerning the politics behind biblical translation, specific biblical examples (here the translation of ‘banquetings’ into mabira in 1 Peter 4:3) are analysed. The article also briefly looks at subsequent ‘improvements’ to the Shona Bible to see how translators have responded to cultural and linguistic changes over the years in their use of the bible among the Shona.