82 / 100

Critic 1/2020

Pour une traductologie africaine
Dawn of African Translation Studies

The inaugural issue of Critic tackles different facets, methods and practices relating to translation studies in Africa, by Africans, or with Africans. With contributions from world-class translation scholars, this issue paves the way to a fascinating journey into translation and interpreting circles in Africa.

Edited by
Stéphanie ENGOLA and Oumarou MAL MAZOU

ISSN 2707-8531 
ISBN 979-8621528652

To order a copy, click the button below.

Une pratique traditionnelle de la traduction : de l’arabe vers les langues nationales dans les milieux islamiques savants de l’Afrique occidentale

Tal Tamari
Centre National de la Recherche Scientifique (CNRS), Paris

West African Islamic scholars have developed translation strategies and specialised linguistic registers that allow them to express and explain the concepts and contents of the medieval curriculum in their own languages. These translations, which are most usually oral, are based on the syntactic units of the source language (as distinct from both word-for-word and sentence-to-sentence translation). Written testimonies, as well as manuscript traces of these practices, show that they existed in some languages by the seventeenth century. The discovery of these scholarly registers leads to a reconsideration and re-evaluation of African languages as vehicles of scholarly discourse.

Keywords: literary Arabic, Islamic scholarship, Manding, Fulfulde, Songhay-Zarma

Traduction et idéologie en contexte post(colonial) africain : le cas de Cheikh Anta Diop

Birame Sarr
Université Gaston Berger

The colonial discourse on African national languages resulted in the production of many translations that aimed at showing that African national languages can express the realities of our globalized world. In this present article, we shall examine the case of Cheikh Anta Diop, which is certainly a perfect example of anticolonial struggle. These translations illustrate his political commitment against a domineering discourse toward languages and cultures of African societies. The ideological dimension of these translations is visible through the choice of texts and topics as well as translation techniques and processes.

Keywords : Translation studies, translation, ideology, national languages, (post)colonial.

Quand l’histoire orale devient écrite en Afrique : de l’intérêt de traduire pour comprendre le règne d’Ibrahim Njoya au Cameroun

Valentin Moulin
Université de Limoges

To translate in Africa is also to translate African writings. In this sense, the Bamum’s case is an example. King Njoya, at the end of the 19th century, invents his writing that transcribes the language bamum. It reaches its final shape in 1910. So here we need to study a multilevel translation: that of the society in images (pictograms and ideograms); that of a society whose particularities are put in writing; that made by the Westerners who bring us to reflect on the act of translating into itself.

Keywords: Africa, Translation, Interpretation, Bamum, Writing.

La traduction littéraire wolof-français : 
approche diachronique et critique

Moussa Diène
Université Cheikh Anta Diop, Dakar

This paper is a reflection on literary translation in Senegal. It retraces the history of literary translation in Senegal so as to propose a critical approach for translated texts. The study shows that the political and linguistic context has not always been favourable to literary translation, and in some translations such as Une si longue lettre, translators distort the original text with the aim to reset the novel in its original Wolof context.

Keywords: Literary Translation, Wolof, French, history, critic

L’Africain de Le Clézio « ci tekkim Daouda Ndiaye » : approche d’une traduction littéraire en wolof

Alice Chaudemanche
Université Sorbonne Nouvelle

The literary translation of a French-speaking text into Wolof challenges the power relations between the world’s languages and invites us to decentralize the analysis to approach the translation from the point of view of the target language and target culture. The study of Baay sama, doomu Afrig (2016), the translation of Le Clézio’s L’Africain (2004) into Wolof, will lead us to question the role of translation in the preservation and experimentation of the Wolof language and in the development of the written literary corpus. In this context, the translator gains visibility and acquires an original enunciative posture: a translator and storyteller narrator?

Keywords: wolof, literary translation, translator, narrator

La littérature camerounaise à l’épreuve de l’éthique de la différence et de l’ethnocentrisme : analyse de la traduction de Temps de chien de Patrice Nganang

Arsène Joël Kuate
Chercheur indépendant

This research paper investigates the issue of ethnocentrism and ethics in the translation of Cameroon literature, characterized by an overuse of both verbal and oral-centered features and a tendency to promote vernacularization. In this paper, we question the approach used when translating all peculiarities of Nganang’s Temps de Chien and incorporating them into the Spanish context. The analysis has shown that the translator’s approach is ethically acceptable because it takes into account the characteristic features of the source language and culture and fit them into the literary sphere of the receptor’s culture.

Keywords : Cameroon literature, culture, ethics, ethnocentrism, cultural difference

Le traducteur comme agent de préservation et de diffusion du patrimoine linguistique et culturel : l’exemple du mbôkou, poésie orale peule du Nord-Cameroun

Oumarou Mal Mazou
CiRTI/Université de Liège

The “mbôkou”, an oral Fulani poetry genre from the Northern Cameroon, is currently under the threat of extinction because it is no longer practiced. The transmission chain has broken due to the progressive disappearance of the poets and to the lack of interest by the new generations. Audiotapes, videotapes and some texts transcribed and translated are to date the only means of access to these poems that played an important role in the Northern Cameroon’s linguistic and cultural landscape during the 19th and 20th centuries. Themes like death, diseases, hunger, corruption, as well as major historic events (wars, colonization, slavery…) are presented with humour and linguistic prowess by the poets who sing in an adapted melody. Translation, along with the audio/videotapes are the rare means for the preservation and dissemination of these poems. This paper aims to highlight the essential role translators play in the conservation and diffusion of this Fulani linguistic and cultural heritage. Apart from linguistic and cultural tools the poems promote, one can use the bilingual versions of the texts for linguistic, didactic, literary and translatological purposes in this multilingual context whereby national languages are overshadowed by English and French, the two official languages adopted by Cameroon.

Keywords: “mbôkou”, Northern Cameroon, Oral poetry, Fulani, Transcription

La promotion du tradupreneur, une opportunité pour l’Afrique ?

Carlos Djomo Tiokou
ESIT/Université Sorbonne Nouvelle

This article investigates opportunities related to training and promoting African business-minded language experts – referred to as transpreneurs – in a context of globalised translation. Given that more and more translation graduates go the freelancing path, it seems appropriate to analyse the role and impact of entrepreneurship in Africa. Based on a pilot study, we critically examine translators’ roles as both language specialists and business owners. We equally review methods, models and practices that can prove useful in training today’s translators as entrepreneurs so they can face tomorrow’s challenges and help develop Africa as a whole.

Keywords: transpreneur, African translation studies, translator entrepreneurship, translator training

Traduction-localisation de l’identité en ligne ou comment traduire un mouvement culturel importé : le cas du Nappy Hair dans les communautés afro-descendantes

Arielle Abogha
Université Sorbonne Nouvelle

It all comes down to identity. Hair has given a sense of identity and belonging to a social category. Today, many French-speaking Afro-descents take their inspiration from African American women to create their online content. Thus, a transposition of the Nappy hair movement cannot be without translation. Yet, this linguistic transposition from one linguistic community to another implicates extra-textual factors with a major influence in the choice of words and are developed in an original set, very similar to the professional localization manager.

Keywords: localisation, translation, user-generated translation, citizen translator

Traduire en contexte de développement :
la communauté comme cadre structurant

Paul-Marie Moyenga
Université Joseph Ki-Zerbo, Ouagadogou

In an Africa where the language of institutional communication is the language of the colonizer, translation plays a leading role in public action. Indeed, in a country like Burkina Faso, all development standards are designed in a language inaccessible to 80% of the population (corresponding to the rate illiteracy of the country). There is therefore the challenge of disseminating these standards so that they can be embodied in the daily action of citizens. Translating becomes a necessary passage. Far from being an informal practice of passing from one language to another, translation is presented as a normed space crossed by various issues, especially the expense of putting into cultural and symbolic perspective of the object of translation. From the decentralization policy, the purpose of this contribution is to show that the challenge of translation in the African context goes beyond the technical mastery of a “science” to arise in terms of anchoring in a particular cultural context in which the “translated” takes meaning.

Keywords: Translation, decentralization, African imaginary

>Critic - ISSN 2707-8531 (Print)


Critic is an innovative scholarly journal which covers a wide range of interesting topics, from literary translation to audiovisual and multimedia translation through language technologies, translator training, conference and community interpreting, and intercultural communication. The journal is interested in anything related to languages, translation, culture, and multilingual communication. Published annually, it includes articles and book reviews spanning through the whole translation studies spectrum.

Journal Team

Stéphanie Engola (University of Yaoundé I)
Oumarou Mal Mazou (CIRTI/University of Liège)

Suzanne Ayonghe (University of Buea)
Carlos Djomo (ESIT/Sorbonne Nouvelle)
Muhammed Mousavinasab (ESIT/Sorbonne Nouvelle)
Madiha Kassawat (ESIT/Sorbonne Nouvelle)

Advisory Board

We Are Listed/Indexed

As a new journal, we are not yet famous. But we are working towards that goal. Being new and run by young scholars does not mean we settle to play in minor leagues. We are targetting the World’s top indexation rankings and, gradually thriving to feature there. 
So far, we do exist ONLINE. Check below.