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This paper establishes the extent of contextual meaning loss or gain in the translation of George Orwell’s Animal Farm from English to Kiswahili. In particular, it analyzes critical concepts in contextualizing the English-Kiswahili translation of the novel. Does meaning loss or gain in the translation of Animal Farm facilitate or impede the appropriate contextualizing of the target language version? What strategies have been used by the translator to deal with contextual meaning loss or gain in the translated text? To do so, content analysis which falls under the qualitative research paradigm is used to examine non-equivalent words and phrases in the source text using the systematic sampling technique. The relevance theory (Sperber & Wilson, 1986), is utilized to interpret data. The study highlights how non-equivalence may be viewed as an impediment in literary translation and offers insights on how loss and gain have been employed to contextualize the target text in Kiswahili. Specific word and phrase meanings are deduced from sentences as well as words and phrases. The findings reveal that the following translation strategies resulted in loss: translation by omission, translation using a more general word, translation using a more neutral or less expressive word, translation by cultural substitution, and translation by paraphrasing using unrelated words. However, only one strategy that resulted in gain was translation by paraphrasing using a related word.
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