A Handbook for African Mother-Tongue Bible Translators

by Isaac Boaheng (University of Free State, South Africa)

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Bible Translation is not just a matter of transposing words from the Source Languages (SL) to Receptor Languages (RL). It is a process of communicating what the original authors of the Bible meant, to what they mean to mother-tongue Bible readers in their religio-cultural contexts.
“A Handbook for African Mother-Tongue Bible Translators” discusses the process of the art and science of Bible translation in a simple language, from historical, philosophical, theoretical, linguistic, cultural and practical perspectives. Written by an African Bible translator and for the African context, the book is a hands-on resource material for Bible translators in Africa. The book is a valuable textbook for postgraduate courses in “History and Theory of Bible Translation”, “Bible Translation and Interpretation” in the discipline of Bible Translation Studies; in universities and seminaries.
I recommend “A Handbook for African Mother-Tongue Bible Translators” to whoever wants to know the process of Bible translation from the original languages to mother-tongues.

Rev. Professor Jonathan Edward Tetteh Kuwornu-Adjaottor (PhD)
Professor of New Testament and Mother-Tongue Biblical Hermeneutics
Department of Religious Studies
College of Humanities and Social Sciences
Kwame Nkrumah University of Science and Technology
Kumasi, Ghana

This book “A Handbook for African Mother-Tongue Bible Translators” by Isaac Boaheng is a masterpiece and a classical guide into the art of Bible translation. It is academically sound and takes into account all the technical approaches, theoretical dispositions, and reflective exercises that inform the art of translation, not neglecting the ‘Sitz im Leben’ of African Bible translators or audiences. Its quality of scholarship is self-evident and pronounced by its clear goals regarding the book’s intention and basic purpose. The adequate presentation of recent developments in the field, the discussion of theoretical lenses that inform Bible translation, the use of appropriate methods, and reflective exercises that ensure the grasp of discourses by African audiences attest to its high quality of scholarship. The originality of the book further adds value to the existing body of literature in Bible translation and caters for Bible translators within the global and local (‘glocal’) contexts. The book is a resourceful material for audiences in Bible translation, biblical and religious studies. It is also user-friendly for non-academic audiences, such as lay-persons, preachers, and students of the Bible.

Dr. Joel Mokhoathi
Senior Lecturer in Religion Studies
University of the Free State, South Africa

‘A Handbook for African Mother-Tongue Bible Translators’ examines key theoretical and practical issues to equip readers with the basic skills required to translate the Bible naturally, accurately, faithfully and clearly into their mother tongues. Since accurate translation enhances the interpretation and application of Scripture, the book will also improve the hermeneutical ability of the reader.

The book is divided into two parts: the first part deals with theoretical issues related to Bible translation in general (with the African context in focus), and the second focuses on the key practical matters in translation. This text will appeal to undergraduate and graduate seminary students and students of translation studies at private and public universities in Africa and beyond; Bible translators and consultants will also find the text useful.

Foreword by Aloo Osotsi Mojola



Introduction by John D K Ekem

Part I: Theoretical Issues in Bible Translation

Chapter 1 Introductory Matters

Chapter 2 Quality Control in Bible Translation

Chapter 3 An Overview of the Translation Process

Chapter 4 The Bible

Chapter 5 History of Global Bible Translation

Chapter 6 History of African Bible Translation

Chapter 7 Major Theories of Bible Translation

Chapter 8 Textual Criticism and Bible Translation

Chapter 9 Exegetical and Intertextual Considerations in Bible Translation

Chapter 10 Linguistics Aspects of Bible Translation

Chapter 11 Explicitation and Structural Adjustments in Bible Translation

Chapter 12 Foreignization, Domestication, and Cultural Adaptation in Bible Translation

Part II: Practical Issues in Bible Translation

Chapter 13 Translating Cultural Idioms

Chapter 14 Translating Metaphors and Similes

Chapter 15 Translating Unknown Ideas

Chapter 16 Translating Measurements

Chapter 17 Translating Real and Rhetorical Questions

Chapter 18 Translating Section Headings

Chapter 19 Translating Proper Names

Chapter 20 African Sign Language Bible Translation




Isaac Boaheng is an ordained minister of the Methodist Church Ghana, a Translator with the Bible Society of Ghana, and a part-time Biblical Hebrew and Old Testament lecturer at the Christian Service University College, Ghana. Boaheng holds a Master of Divinity degree from the Trinity Theological Seminary, Accra, Ghana, and a Master of Theology degree from the South African Theological Seminary, South Africa. Isaac is currently a PhD Candidate at the University of the Free State, South Africa, where he also serves as a Research Fellow. Isaac has over forty publications in Translation Studies, Systematic Theology, Biblical Studies, and African Christianity, among others. He is married to Gloria, and they are blessed with four children: Christian, Benedict, Julia and Kalix.

Bible translation, mother-tongue, Translation studies, Africa

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Bibliographic Information

Book Title
A Handbook for African Mother-Tongue Bible Translators
Number of pages
Physical size
236mm x 160mm
Publication date
March 2022