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Q: Sotho Hymn Translation ( Answered,   1 Comment )
Subject: Sotho Hymn Translation
Category: Arts and Entertainment > Books and Literature
Asked by: sla-ga
List Price: $25.00
Posted: 10 Jul 2002 05:18 PDT
Expires: 09 Aug 2002 05:18 PDT
Question ID: 38103
Translate from South African Sotho language to English: "Omsindisi Nguweoli Khakalam

Request for Question Clarification by chromedome-ga on 10 Jul 2002 16:26 PDT
Hi, sla-ga!

I took on your question this morning, and put out several calls and
e-mails.  I've gotten a translation of the phrase in your question
from a staffer at the South African High Commission here in Canada.

When I came back to post it, however, I realized that you may have
wanted the entire hymn translated.  The question itelf was succinct
enough ("Translate this") but the title made it rather ambiguous.

If you simply wanted the phrase translated, please respond with
clarification and I'll post my answer.  If, however, you wanted the
entire hymn, I'll keep on plugging.

Eagerly anticipating your response, 

Subject: Re: Sotho Hymn Translation
Answered By: chromedome-ga on 12 Jul 2002 18:56 PDT
Hello again, Sla-ga!

Well, it's been an interesting couple of days, but I've finally
completed my research on your question.

Through the courtesy of staffers at the South African High Commission
in Ottawa, Canada, I have received a translation of your phrase, as
well as the complete text in Sotho.  I will not include it in my
answer, as you've not asked and the translation may in fact still be

The phrase given in your question translates as, "O my Saviour You are
my Shield".  It is from a translation of the well-known Welsh
Methodist hymn, "Guide Me O Thou Great Jehovah".

The complete text in its English translation (it was originally
written in Welsh) may be found on this page, along with links to audio
samples and the original Welsh text:

Search strategy:  I used Google to search on various combinations of
keywords found in your original phrase, with no success.  I also tried
various combinations of the words "hymn", "Sotho", "African",
"translation", and many many more.  Ultimately, thought, it was direct
contact with the High Commission which yielded the desired result.

When the Commission staff replied to my followup e-mail with the title
and complete text of the hymn, it was a simple matter to search on the
hymn's English title.

Thank you again for an unusually interesting question.  I'm deeply
obliged to you!


Request for Answer Clarification by sla-ga on 17 Jul 2002 09:48 PDT
Dear Chromedome-ga,

I thank you for your excellent response to my query regarding the
Sotho Hymn.  I apologize for not posting the entire text of the hymn.

The title is, "Ndikhokele, O Jehovah".  Verse 1 is:"Ndikhokele, O
Jehova, Ndingumhambi Nkosiyam.  Unamandla andinawo Onobutha
thakandim".  The refrain is:"Omsindisi, Omsindisi, Nguweoli khakalam.
This is the text of the Hymn as it appears in the A.M.E. Church Hymnal
on page 65.  I had done many searches and even posted a query on an
African web page with no result.  I would appreciate the entire hymn
translation if you are permitted to post it.  Many thanks for your
Sunny Adams(sla-ga)

Clarification of Answer by chromedome-ga on 17 Jul 2002 18:15 PDT
Hi, Sla-ga, good to hear back from you.

The text you provided in the clarification request corresponds
precisely to what my contact at the High Commission provided, so we're
definitely discussing the same hymn.

If your wish was to see the entire text of the hymn in its standard
English version, that's at the link I'd provided in my original
answer.  If, however, you wish a literal translation from Sotho back
into English (for purposes, I would presume, of comparison) please let
me know and I will try to arrange that over the next day or so.

Best regards, 


Request for Answer Clarification by sla-ga on 18 Jul 2002 05:23 PDT
Dear Chromedome-ga

Ah, the power of words.  It is gratifying to know that I copied the
Sotho text with the correct syntax.  I would be pleased to have the
translation of the text which you said agreed precisely with the High
Commission.  I am a choir director at a small AME Church and  we have
sung this hymn, but were also curious about the meaning in Sotho.  We
want to sing the hymn first in the original language second in
English.  This is my first experience with the Google Answers page. 
Your response has been exhilarating, exciting and informative.  I also
rejoice that you found my query refreshing and challenging.

I hope to use your talents for future searches.  Have a great and
blessed day.


Clarification of Answer by chromedome-ga on 18 Jul 2002 06:45 PDT
Oh, dear.

I'm afraid I'm going to sound terribly dense, now.  Was it the balance
of the text in Sotho, you wanted?  A literal translation of the Sotho
version?  (It would not necessarily be "singable", when re-cast into
English) Or the standard English version?

I'm sure I can oblige you either way, I just want to ensure that I
understand clearly what you want.  Apologizing for my lack of


Request for Answer Clarification by sla-ga on 18 Jul 2002 07:56 PDT
Dear Chromedome,

You are not dense, just careful to be accurate, which I appreciate. 
Yes, I would like the translation of the text I wrote which you said
was the correct hymn verified by the High Commission.  The Sotho words
are hyphenated and I have high hopes of singing it properly.  I am
just so happy to get the translation that it will not matter if we can
sing the Sotho or not.  Just slide the words to me.  Thank you again
for being attentive to detail.


Clarification of Answer by chromedome-ga on 18 Jul 2002 11:17 PDT

I'll bung the text out to the various volunteers who've gotten back to
me, since the original answer.  I should have a literal translation
for you in a day or so.

Thank you for your patience!

Request for Answer Clarification by sla-ga on 16 Aug 2002 06:36 PDT
Good day Chromedome,

Any success on finishing the translation per your last message? 
Really looking forward to this information.  We had a rehearsal last
night, 15 August, and discussed how intelligent we will sound as we
sing the translation.  I hope your contacts have returned from
vacation, etc.

Thanks, again for all your assistance thus far.  Please thank the
Google Answers Team for providing a forum for your talent.


Clarification of Answer by chromedome-ga on 16 Aug 2002 07:30 PDT
Hello again, Sla-ga

As it happens, last night I was combing through my list of
"outstanding e-mails that have not gotten replies" and came across
those related to your question.  I have not as yet gotten ANY
responses to my last batch of e-mails, so I am re-sending them today.

Hopefully, this should bring me back to everybody's attention, and get
us the final answer.

My apologies for the delays.  It's an unavoidable side-effect of
depending on the goodwill of others, I suppose.  Be assured, though,
I've not forgotten you!  I will get you the answer you's
gotten to be a personal thing, now...


Clarification of Answer by chromedome-ga on 05 Sep 2002 13:31 PDT
Hello, Sla-ga!

Well, I have good news.  I've gotten someone to undertake a
translation for us (a pastor in South Africa, as it turns out) and
should have it for you within the next few days.

While we're waiting, I'm going to backfill a little, and give you a
bit more information to be going on with.

Re-reading the above, there is one piece of crucial information that
I'd unaccountably left out of my original answer.  The language of
this hymn, as you'd quoted it to me, is not Sotho (alt. Sesotho,
Sesuthu) but Xhosa (isiXhosa).  While both are Bantu languages, Xhosa
is more closely related to the Zulu tongue.  In fact, Xhosa- and Zulu-
speakers can understand each other quite well.  They are treated as
separate languages, rather than dialects of the same language, for
cultural/sociological reasons (rather like Spanish and Portuguese,

To help your choir with the Xhosa words, you may wish to consult the
pronunciation guide on this South African website:

The same site also offers the Lord's Prayer in Xhosa, if you're

And some general-purpose words and phrases:

Sala kakuhle!  Hopefully we'll have this wrapped up, at long last.


Request for Answer Clarification by sla-ga on 05 Sep 2002 15:13 PDT
Greetings, Chromedome:

I am sitting at work as I write and was preparing for rehearsal. I
noticed the message saying you had posted a reply and I jumped on it. 
You are a gem.  I will check the referenced web site tonight when I
return home.

Have a blessed evening, and many thanks for your efforts.  


Clarification of Answer by chromedome-ga on 24 Nov 2002 18:55 PST
Hello, sla-ga...

Once again, I would like to apologize for taking so long to get this
completed.  This has been rather an unhappy experience for me, all
told, and would have been entirely humiliating without your unfailing

First, some translation services for you.  You may wish to begin with
the website of the South African Translator's Institute.  They
maintain a registry of freelance translators there, and many of them
translate to and from the Xhosa language.  Follow the link below, and
use your browser's "find on this page" feature to locate those who
translate Xhosa:

Two more South African-based sites:

And two more that looked reasonable:

Second, if you have not done so, I would like to endorse the
suggestion posted by magmorten-ga in your other question:

I was never a usenet user, so I frequently overlook the wealth of
information available there.  There is a reasonable likelihood of you
finding the help you need in that newsgroup.

If I recall correctly, you had the text of the hymn available to you
in the AME hymnbook, so I have not posted the full text for you.  If
you wish me to do so, please let me know and I'll post it up.

Thank you again for your patience and courtesy,


Request for Answer Clarification by sla-ga on 25 Nov 2002 05:31 PST
Greetings, Chromedome

Dear person, I am gratified that you have responded so thoroughly to
my last post.  I am also gratified regarding those who responded to my
second posting.  I feel like a kid in a candy store of great
knowledge.  All I need do is walk from room to room and draw from any
glass canister of information.

Have a great and festive Thanksgiving.  You have good gifts to enrich
the lives of others.

Subject: Re: Sotho Hymn Translation
From: chromedome-ga on 29 Jul 2002 14:46 PDT
Hello again, sla-ga.

I apologise for taking so long with what looked to be the easiest part
of the answer.  It appears that I've come up against the "vacation
time" problem, which makes personal contact so interesting at this
time of the year.  It's a shame you weren't looking for a Ghanaian or
Nigerian dialect, or I might have been able to get it translated in my
own congregation!

Thank you also for the kind comments you sent to Google Answers.  A
little bit of unexpected praise is always a pleasant thing to receive!


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