Text Editing in Indigenous Languages

12/05/2016 / Indigenous Languages Publishing Programme
Text editing in indigenous languages book.

Indigenous language publishing is a sectoral priority and the SABDC has implemented an Indigenous Languages Publishing Programme (ILPP). This programme provides subsidies to SMME publishers to assist them in producing quality indigenous language books.

The depth and severity of challenges in indigenous language writing and publishing are not entirely understood. For example, very few policy makers and funders know that a critical shortage in quality indigenous language editors exists. The South African Literary Awards (SALA) includes a category for African Language Editing. In 2012, there were no winners for this category due to the poor editorial quality of the books. Even books from multi-national publishers based in South Africa ‘were riddled with elementary typographical, grammatical and other stylistic errors which could have been eliminated by skilled editors’.

The SABDC therefore prioritised text editing and partnered with the Steering Committee of the Text Editing: Africa Project and MLA Publications to produce the first-ever book on text editing in one of South Africa’s indigenous languages, Sesotho: Metheo ya ditokiso tsa sengolwa: Boitsebelo le tshebediso.

This book was largely translated, written and edited by Dr EN Malete. Dr Mohathane assisted Dr Malete with the editing/proofreading. This book is an essential reference work for all teachers, students and practitioners of communications, writing, editing and translation through the medium of Sesotho, and an invaluable reference book. It is an adaptation of the internationally acclaimed Text Editing: A handbook for students and practitioners (UPA, 2012) and based on the CCC Model for text analysis and improvement developed by Dutch linguist Dr Jan Renkema.

The book and the planned subsequent editions in other indigenous languages, will contribute significantly to standardization and setting of norms in the indigenous languages. And assist practitioners by setting a benchmark and providing much-needed guidance and direction.