A comparative study of translation equivalents for health/medical terminology in Xitsonga was conducted. The research involved studying a selection of terms from a glossary (the DSAC Multilingual Glossary of Medical/Health Terminology) compiled by language experts. Purposive sampling was used, resulting in the identification of 33 problematic source language (English) terms. Semi-structured interviews were then conducted during which health experts were asked to provide Xitsonga equivalents for the selected English terms from the glossary. The translation equivalents provided in the DSAC Multilingual Glossary of Medical/Health Terminology and those given by the health experts were then subjected to evaluation, followed by comparative analysis by the researcher. The analysis indicates that the DSAC Multilingual Glossary of Medical/Health Terminology applied a variety of term formation strategies in accordance with the term formation principles available to Xitsonga. The most frequently used strategy, in 40% of the cases, was translation by making use of a more general word, whilst paraphrasing was the second most frequently applied term formation strategy (32,5%). A number of source language (English) terms was found to be provided with inappropriate/incorrect target language equivalents. The health experts, on the other hand, mainly used paraphrase as a translation strategy, i.e. in 62,5% of the cases. The use of a more general word was the second most frequently applied term formation strategy (in 28,1% of cases). Although not similar to the DSAC Multilingual Glossary of Medical/Health Terminology translation equivalents, health experts also managed to apply a variety of different term formation strategies available to Xitsonga. Unlike the DSAC Multilingual Glossary of Medical/Health Terminology list in which a number of English terms (13 out of the total of 33 selected source language terms) were not provided with Xitsonga translation equivalents, the health experts provided Xitsonga equivalents for all the terms, except for one term (keratectomy). The reason why the health/medical experts used paraphrasing extensively may be that a single term equivalent did not exist or was not known, due to inadequate availability of standardised terms. However, the health experts also clearly felt the need for providing users with an explanation that could be used for communicative purposes, e.g. between medical staff and patients. Moreover, when developing terms (outside of the context of a particular translation task) it is highly probable that term developers would rather opt for maximising transparency and comprehensibility, than putting in an effort to coin a term that can be used as a so-called ‘directly insertable translation equivalent’. The implications of the research findings are discussed, with one main finding of the study suggesting a need for a collaborative effort in terminology development.
Dissertation (MA (Applied Linguistics))--University of Pretoria, 2007.