First full-length scholarly article in Setswana comes from NWU
A joint effort by the NWU’s Language Directorate and the School of Computer, Statistical and Mathematical Sciences has resulted in a big breakthrough and a historic first.
A technical scholarly article based on the work of Mr Tumo Baitshenyetsi – who recently completed his master’s degree in the subject group Computer Science – was translated in its entirety into Setswana with the help of the NWU’s Language Directorate. Tumo’s supervisors were Prof Hennie Kruger and Prof Giel Hattingh, both from Computer Science.
The article entitled Tiragatso ya itlhagiso ya setlhare se se okeditsweng ka kgetsi mo bothateng jwa popo ya metato ya dipeipi tsa oli (Applying an extended tree knapsack approach to an oil pipeline design problem) was accepted for publication in the accredited scholarly journal of the Operations Research Society of South Africa (ORiON), and will appear in the December 2011 edition.
According to Prof Kruger, it was a new and somewhat unfamiliar process to get the Setswana article published in an English journal. Quite a few problems had to be overcome; first, the editor had to be convinced that the Setswana would be on a high academic level. The review process was also problematic, as there was nobody who could review the technical content in Setswana. This was dealt with by making available a longer English summary to the reviewers. The editor of ORiON was also very accommodating and helped us overcome objections.
Prof Kruger also emphasised that all of this would not have been achieved without the professional assistance and support of the NWU’s Language Directorate. Mr Johan Blaauw helped manage the project and Mr Johan Zerwick had the daunting task of translating this specialised article.
According to Johan Zerwick, the translation posed a number of unique challenges since technical terms, descriptions and mathematical modelling techniques all had to be translated into Setswana. Many neologisms had to be invented in order to arrive at a true reflection of the technical aspects. To ensure a high quality product, the translation was also checked by Solomon Khunou a lecturer in Setswana at the Tshwane University of Technology and a SATI-accredited translator.
Prof Kruger and Messrs Blaauw and Zerwick all agree that the Setswana article represents a first in natural sciences and that it will contribute not only towards the development of Setswana in particular, but also to that of indigenous languages in general. They also regard it as a way of giving tangible effect to the NWU’s culture of multilingualism.