Question of Equivalence in Translation: Analysis of the Mandinka-English Translated Transcripts of TRRC Witnesses in the Gambia

Oladotun Opeoluwa Olagbaju, Abdoulie Senghore


Translation is a linguistic reality in every multilingual society, the Gambia inclusive. Although English is the official language of the Gambia, the government explores the instrumentality of translation to inform citizens that are unlearned about activities and programmes of the state. The Truth Reconciliation and Reparation Commission (TRRC) was established to take testimonies from witnesses or victims of human rights abuse during the immediate past administration in the country. Most of the testimonies were given in Mandinka or Wolof and translated into English during the course of the TRRC proceedings. The concern of this study is to determine equivalence in the Mandinka-English translations from the source to the target language in terms of meaning and content. The study employed a qualitative research design using four randomly selected TRRC case notes as source of primary data. Three research questions were raised and the result showed that Mandinka-English translations in the TRRC proceedings were not equivalent in meaning and content. Findings also prove that equivalence in translation is a possibility.


Translation; Equivalence; TRCC; Mandinka; English Language

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Primary Sources of Data

QTV. TRRC Proceedings on 27th March, 2018: Part 1. Witness A: Basiru Barrow Family. Accessed ‎13 ‎February, ‎2020. <>

QTV. TRRC Proceedings on 29th October, 2019: Part 1 (Day 100). Witness B: Nogoi Njie. Accessed ‎13 ‎February, ‎2020.


QTV. TRRC Proceedings on 13th November, 2019: Part 1 (Day 105). Witness C: Ensa Badjie. Accessed 14 ‎February, ‎2020.


QTV. TRRC Proceedings on 6th February, 2020. Witness D: Ba Kawsu Fofana. Accessed 13 ‎February, ‎2020 <>



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