Conference: Public service and community interpreting in plurilingual Africa

Friday 06. October 2017 — University of Fribourg

Public service and community interpreting in plurilingual Africa

Swiss Society for African Studies and Institute on Plurilingualism

Linguistic diversity in societies involves a wide range of translating and interpreting practices among speakers for mutual understanding. In many cases, daily social interactions, rather than formal training, provide the context and basis to act as interpreter or translator. This interpreting ability ensures a flexible use of languages, adapted to the needs at hand. However, many formal settings, such as the administration or educational institutions, are largely monolingually dominated, which may severely limit the application of these plurilingual abilities. Existing studies and experiences show that interaction between officially monolingual institutions and a highly plurilingual population are often mediated through practices of translation and interpretation that vary in their degree of formalization and professionalization. Besides investigations in the broad field of migration studies, this phenomenon is also evident in court and in administrative settings in post-colonial contexts in Africa. The attitudes of the former colonial administration towards the official language continue to impede the use of African languages and language varieties in administrative settings. This narrow focus on exclusive standard varieties in administration is visible in several domains of language use, particularly in education. Evidence from Africa is rare in the literature so far.

This workshop serves as a platform to bring together interested scholars from Africa and Europe looking at various aspects of interpretation in African societies. We encourage contributions from researchers in African Studies, anthropology, language and literature studies, (socio)linguistics, translation and interpretation studies, but also members of NGOs and applied scientists who are interested in exploring public service and community interpretation in Africa.


8:30 Registration

9:00 Welcome and introduction
Alexandre Duchêne, Institute of Multilingualism, Université de Fribourg, Switzerland
Daniel Künzler, co-president SSAS/SSEA/SGAS and Department of Sociology, University of Fribourg, Switzerland

9:45 Keynote address
Cultural Translation of Missionary Medicine in Colonial Zambia: A Case Study of Mwinilunga District
Walima T. Kalusa, Faculty of History, University of Cambridge, UK

10:30 Coffee break

11:00 Interprétation dans les cours et tribunaux au Sénégal: la justice face au défi du multilinguisme
Aly Sambou, Langues Étrangères Appliquées, Université Gaston Berger, Saint Louis, Senegal

11:30 Interpreting the Administration: Burkina Faso’s Courts in Translation
Natalie Tarr, Centre for African Studies, University of Basel, Switzerland

12:00 Standing lunch

13:00 Keynote address
Pour une nouvelle politique linguistique en faveur de l’utilisation des langues nationales dans le système administratif
Mamadou Lamine Sanogo, Institut National des sciences des sociétés (INSS), Ouagadougou, Burkina Faso

13:45 The integration of “public service interpreting needs” in training and practice: Serving or unserving development in Cameroon?
Ebenezer Tedjouong, University of Buea, Cameroon

14:15 Legal Settings and Community Interpreting in Nigeria: Experiences from four Communities in Delta State
Rose Aziza & Rita Mebitaghan, Delta State University, Abraka, Nigeria

14:45 Coffee Break

15:15 Contextualizing interpreter training in Africa
Carmen Delgado Luchner, InZone, University of Geneva, Switzerland and University of the Free State, South Africa

15:45 Wrap-up and Discussion
Moderation by Gabriele Slezak, Department of African Studies, University of Vienna, Austria & Natalie Tarr, Center for African Studies, University of Basel, Switzerland

17:00 Closure

17:30 Apéritif

18:15 Annual Assembly of the Swiss Society for African Studies


esense GmbH