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Ahmad, Usman

BIGSAS Junior Fellow Usman Ahmad

Research Interests:

English Linguistics, African Linguistics, Translation Studies

Geographical Area:


Current Project:

A Study of English-Hausa and Hausa-English Translations

This research work, a study of English-Hausa translations of legal documents, attempts to identify the techniques used by the translators to handle the complexities and uniqueness of the English legal language while translating it into Hausa. According to Bhatia (1993), legal discourse is considered notorious for its complexity, repetitiveness, and tortuous syntax. The intention is always to write clearly, precisely, unambiguously, and all-inclusively, with detailed specifications of the scope of legislative provisions. In legal translation, which is a unique and specialized area of translational activity (Cao, 2007), documents are characterized by brevity, economy, and neatness to prevent fraud, additions, omissions, or alterations in the text. Mistakes or mistranslations can lead to disastrous repercussions. Therefore, this research work intends to determine whether the features of the legal texts are retained in these translations even though translated language has contrary characteristics.

Several models comprise the analytical framework of this project to achieve its objectives. It includes Holme`s (2004) extended version of the Framework of Translation Studies, in which he pointed out that Translation Studies have two main objectives, which are: “to describe the phenomena of translating and translation(s) and “to establish general principles by means of which these phenomena can be explained and predicted.” The research also uses Vinay and Darbelnet’s Translation Procedure Model, as revised by Molina and Albir, and Nida’s (1964) Functional Equivalence Model. Vinay and Darbelnet’s (1995) Translation Procedure Model, as updated in Molina and Albir’s Translation Techniques Model, defined translation techniques as procedures to analyze and classify how translation equivalence works. The research examines how the Hausa legal register reflects the evolution of the legal system in Northern Nigeria. It analyses how it is overloaded with borrowed terms from Arabic and English. As the research describes and appreciates these translations, it opens a floor for the discussion of English-Hausa translation, gives hints for English-Hausa translation training, and helps the machine translation programmers enrich the coding in their Hausa translation database, particularly on the translations of legal terminologies.


Further information (CV, publications, conference contributions)

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