Bible Translation and Language Elaboration: The Igbo Experience

Uchenna Oyali, from the Department of English at the University of Abuja, Nigeria recently published a doctoral dissertation with the title “Bible Translation and Language Elaboration : The Igbo Experience”.

Read more here.

This study posits that the translation of the Bible into the Igbo language engendered the elaboration of the language to enable it express the ideas and concepts borne in the Christian religion. Language elaboration, as used in this work, refers to the expansion of the functions of a language, i.e. use of the language in new domains, introduction of new lexical and semantic elements to the repertoire of the language. Four research questions guided the analysis carried out in the work: What lexical processes were adopted in creating new terms in Bible translation into Igbo? What strategies were employed in representing Christian concepts in the Bible translations? How have these lexical and conceptual innovations evolved across the different translations? How have the lexical and conceptual innovations spread among Igbo speakers? To answer these questions, two types of analysis are carried out: a textual analysis of a corpus of terms created and introduced into Igbo through eight Igbo Bible translations, and an analysis of a questionnaire survey on the spread of some of these new terms and concepts in contemporary Igbo usage. Findings show that the Bible translations enriched the Igbo lexicon mainly through the processes of compounding, descriptive phrases and lexical borrowing. Secondly, the translations introduced Christian concepts into Igbo mainly by appropriating existing terms for Igbo concepts and giving them new significations in the Igbo Bible. Thirdly, later translations lexically and semantically differentiated Christian concepts from traditional Igbo concepts. They also differentiated two Christian concepts by representing them with distinct terms where the earlier translations represented the concepts with the same term, thereby facilitating the emergence of an Igbo Christian register. Fourthly, some of the Biblical innovations are restricted to use within Christian religious contexts, thereby suggesting the emergence of an Igbo Christian register. However, many others have spread into Igbo beyond their use in the Bible and some have acquired new meanings in the language and also got entries in Igbo dictionaries.


Call for Applicants: African Translation and Interpreting Studies Writing Workshop

This workshop seeks to understand the context in which African academics work, and support their writing skills. It brings together approximately 20 African Early Career Researchers, international scholars and internationally renowned journal editors in translation and interpreting studies (TIS).

This coordinated effort between Aston University (UK), the University of the Free State (South Africa), and the Association for Translation Studies in Africa and supported by the British Academy builds on existing networks to empower young African scholars to develop publications for international journals, prepare competitive funding bids, build international networks, and liaise with senior academics and editors in translation and interpreting studies (TIS).


 Create an engaging space where African ECRs interact with African, UK and international scholars and editors so that they can learn from each other and about TIS publishing and funding

  • Provide specific training on the drafting of manuscripts and proposals to be submitted to international journals and funding bodies
  • Put in place a mentoring system pairing African ECRs with journal editors to facilitate the ECRs’ submissions to impact factor journals

Successful applicants will be invited to:

 Attend a three-day writing workshop in Stellenbosch from on 5-7 September 2019, right before the tri-annual Congress of the European Society for Translation Studies (EST) organised by the University of Stellenbosch (9-13 September).

  • Receive additional mentoring from September until December 2019 to support the submission of an article to an international, peer-reviewed journal

Attendance to the workshop is free and meals and refreshments will be provided during the workshop for all participants.

Participants are highly encouraged to also attend the 9th Congress of the European Society for Translation Studies will be hosted in South Africa, at Stellenbosch University, from 9 to 13 September 2019.

Participants must be African Early Career Researchers working in translation and interpreting studies. They will usually be working towards a PhD or should have defended their PhD in recent years. Participants should have original research in translation and interpreting studies that they hope to submit for publication to an international journal by the December 2019.


To apply, applicants should complete this form by 20 May 2019. The form includes a statement in which applicants should explain how they will benefit from the workshop. Applicants should also attach a short curriculum vitae (2 pages).

Selected participants will be asked to complete a questionnaire about the challenges they face in submitting publications to international journals and writing research grant applications as well as to identify areas where they feel they need more support to progress in their own careers. Additionally, they will be encouraged to prepare outlines or drafts prior to the workshop. These drafts will be used for the hands-on writing sessions.

Travel grants

 Recognising the difficulties that African ECRs might face to attend the workshop, we will offer 14 grants for £500 each. Participants can, however, attend the workshop without the grant.


  • Prof Frank Austermuehl, Aston University, editor of, track editor of Translation Spaces
  • Prof Kobus Marais, University of the Free State, Vice-president of ATSA, editor of the new Journal for Translation Studies in Africa
  • Dr David Orrego-Carmona, Aston University, research associate at the University of the Free State, editor of PLOS ONE

Journal Editors

 The Journal Editor Board will include academics from Europe, the US and Australia who are editors of leading international journals in translation and interpreting studies:

  • Dr María González Davies, Universitat Ramón Lull, co-editor of The Translator and Interpreter Trainer
  • Dr Vanessa Enríquez Raído, University of Auckland, review editor of of The Translator and Interpreter Trainer
  • Prof Dorothy Kelly, Universidad de Granada, co-editor of The Translator and Interpreter Trainer
  • Dr Elsa Huertas Barros, University of Westminster, associate editor of The Translator and Interpreter Trainer
  • Dr Haidee Kruger, Macquarie University, co-editor of Target
  • Prof Sandra Louise Halverson, Western Norway University of Applied Science, former editor of Target
  • Dr Chris Mellinger, University of North Carolina at Charlotte, managing editor of Translation and Interpreting Studies
  • Prof Roberto Valdeón, Universidad de Oviedo, research associate at the University of the Free State, General editor of the Benjamins Translation Library monograph series and editor-in-chief of Perspectives. Studies in Translation Theory and Practice