Translating Ugandan Oral Literature for Children: Audience, Form, and Social Relevance


African Humanities Program Postdoctoral Fellowships




This study documents three categories of oral texts for children—riddles, folktales, and rhymes—and discusses the procedures used to transcribe and translate the material into English. The material is analyzed based on close reading and content analysis. The study discusses their form and social relevance in the child culture in Uganda, and attempts to answer questions regarding transfer of oral elements to the page; for example, what choices ought to be made in the transcription and translation process? What are the challenges of achieving “transparency” when dealing with “untranscribable” and “untranslatable” elements of the oral text? The study presents the texts in the original languages and in English translation, and thereby open this fresh archive of material to further critical inquiry.