The Retranslation Hypothesis and the Translation of Proverbs: A Study of the German Translations of Achebe’s Things Fall Apart

Published: SEPTEMBER 2021


Omotayo I. Olalere


About Author(s):

Department of Foreign Languages

Obafemi Awolowo University

Ile-Ife, Nigeria

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Extant studies on Retranslation Hypothesis (RH) have either given credence to its validity or have done otherwise. In the African context, few studies have focused on the (re)translation of proverbs under the framework of RH. This study therefore aims at examining the claims of RH – in the case of Igbo proverbs found in Achebe’s Things Fall Apart and its three German translations. The analysis of the proverbs selected for the study reveals that while the first German translator foreignized, the second translator domesticated, and the third translator paid close attention to the form of the proverbs. By examining the transfer of selected proverbs, the study shows that historical variables involved in retranslation can nullify the universality of the Retranslation Hypothesis.

Keyword: Proverbs, Retranslation Hypothesis, German, Things Fall Apart, (re)translation