Research Article

Non-Equivalence at the Grammatical Categories in the Kĩkamba Bible Translation


  • Eunice Nthenya Musyoka Kirimari Boys Secondary School Embu, Kenya
  • Kenneth Odhiambo Department of Language, Literature and Culture, Maasai Mara University Narok, Kenya


This paper explores the challenges of non-equivalence at the grammatical categories in the Kĩkamba Bible translation. Translation involves rendering a source text message into the target text by using the register, background knowledge, and other language resources to meet the intended purpose. The process is hampered by non-equivalence, which occurs when a lexical item or an expression in the source language lacks an equivalent item to translate it into the target language. A descriptive research design was used to obtain information from a sampled population. The Bible is divided into two sections; the Old and the New Testament. It is further categorized into seven groups. Purposive sampling was used to select one book from each category and one chapter from each book to form the sample for the study. Data was collected through careful study of the English Revised Standard Version Bible to identify non-equivalences at the grammatical category level and the Kĩkamba Bible to analyse how it is handled, guided by Equivalence theory proposed by Nida and the Relevance theory (Sperber and Wilson). The study established four categories of non-equivalences at the grammatical category level; gender, number, person and case. According to the research non-equivalence at the grammatical level such as the third person singular and plural, the second person and pronouns in both subjective and objective case pose a challenge when the target language lacks a distinctive expression that is present in the source text, but appropriate strategies such as unit change, explicitation and specification meet the goal of translation. The study recommends that the translator needs to interpret what the categories represent in the context as a whole before translating the separate verses.  It is hoped that the research will be a contribution to applied linguistics in the area of translation, specifically on non-equivalence.

Article information


International Journal of Linguistics, Literature and Translation

Volume (Issue)

4 (3)





How to Cite

Musyoka , E. N. ., & Odhiambo , K. . (2021). Non-Equivalence at the Grammatical Categories in the Kĩkamba Bible Translation. International Journal of Linguistics, Literature and Translation, 4(3), 216–226.



Translation, non-equivalence, grammatical categories, source text, target text, the Bible and Kĩkamba language