Translation Deviations of Mother Tongue News Texts in a South African Radio Station: a case of Thobela FM, Limpopo Province


  • Mphoto Mogoboya, Tebogo Kekana


mother tongue, deviations, translation, news reading, (re)trained, mass communication


For most South African Northern Sotho mother tongue speakers who reside in the rural villages of Limpopo Province, Thobela FM radio station serves as one of the most common indigenous South African mass communication channel which is expected to be a good model for their language. Whereas translation as a strategy to convey information in various media outlets has received some attention in the earlier works on linguistic research, translation language used in the radio for news bulletin purposes has not been empirically studied to date, particularly in relation to Thobela FM radio station. In order to close this gap, this study investigated this phenomenon. It is a qualitative study which is undergirded by Social Learning theory. Random sampling was used to collect data from various audio recorded news bulletin excerpts. Discourse analysis was then adopted as a data analysis strategy. The findings of the study provide evidence that Northern Sotho news bulletin translators at Thobela FM radio station are indeed faced with translation and linguistic challenges hence the deviations. This, therefore, means that reliance on the news presenters as news translators needs to be re-imagined. This repurposing of the news reading unit of the radio station implies that current news readers be (re)trained and (re)skilled in translation and editing. The other recommendation may be employment of relevant professional translators to come and strengthen the division.