Research Article

Resolving Constraints in Translating Modifiers in Mungaka Oral Folktales into English


  • Tabitha Boghema Samje Student, Department of Linguistics, University of Buea, Cameroon
  • Wanchia T. Neba Associate Professor of Translation, Intercultural communication and Mediation, The University of Bamenda, Cameroon


A major challenge encountered when translating Mungaka oral folktales into English centres on the use of modifiers, precisely adjectives and adverbs. The manner in which these grammatical categories are employed in Mungaka oral folktales engenders numerous constraints that render their translation into English difficult. This paper sets out to identify the specific translation constraints that originate from the use of modifiers in Mungaka oral folktales and establish methods to resolve them when translating from Mungaka into English. With the help of unstructured interviews, five Mungaka oral folktales are recorded, transcribed and analyzed qualitatively to identify excerpts that pose translation problems. The use of modifiers in Mungaka gives rise to 16 translation problems (problematic excerpts).  The study uses mainly Descriptive Translation Studies (DTS), buttressed by the linguistic, interpretative and aesthetic communication theories of translation, employed to resolve the translation problems in the excerpts. Findings reveal that the translation of Mungaka modifiers is stymied by lexical, semantic and syntactic constraints, and strategies such as transposition, amplification, modulation, omission, substitution, adaptation and reformulation can help in resolving these translation constraints. These strategies are thus recommended for the translation works from Mungaka into English.

Article information


International Journal of Linguistics, Literature and Translation

Volume (Issue)

5 (2)





How to Cite

Samje, T. B., & Neba, W. T. (2022). Resolving Constraints in Translating Modifiers in Mungaka Oral Folktales into English. International Journal of Linguistics, Literature and Translation, 5(2), 145–152.



translation constraint, modifiers, oral folktales, Mungaka language, English language