On the 6 October 2017, the Institute of Multilingualism at the University of Fribourg, Switzerland, will host a 1-day workshop organized by the Swiss Society for African Studies (www.sagw.ch/en/africa.html) and the Institute of Multilingualism (www.institute-multilingualism.ch).

Linguistic diversity in African 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. But many formal settings, such as the administration or educational institutions, continue to be dominated by former colonial languages, which are languages spoken only by a minority of the population. Interaction between representatives of these officially monolingual institutions and plurilingual speakers are often mediated through practices of interpretation that vary in their degree of formalization and professionalization. So far, very little training exists for public service or community interpreting in Africa. This poses serious challenges to equal access for all citizens to public services, which is particularly evident in court and in administrative settings in post-colonial contexts in Africa.

This workshop serves as a platform to bring together interested scholars from Africa and Europe looking at various aspects of public service and community interpreting in African societies. We want to rethink inherited language politics and attitudes towards the use of African languages in formal settings and the repercussions this has on an equal access to justice, for example. 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.

Our keynote speaker will be Dr. Mamadou Lamine Sanogo (Institut National des Sciences des Sociétés INSS, Ouagadougou). Dr. Sanogo is senior researcher at the INSS and an expert on language and politics in Burkina Faso. His recent work has focused on the translation of official texts into national languages, the compilation of a Jula-French dictionary, and particularly the elaboration of legal vocabulary in Jula.

Paper proposals should include full contact details (email address, full mailing address, affiliation) and an abstract of up to 250 words.

The final deadline for electronic submission of proposals is the 31 March 2017. Notices of acceptance will be sent out no later than 1 June 2017. Proposals should be submitted to: natalie.tarr@bluewin.ch.

Workshop registration will cost 50 CHF for all participants (paper presenters and attendees).

Looking forward to seeing you in Fribourg!

The organizers,

Prof. Alexandre Duchêne (University of Fribourg, alexandre.duchene@unifr.ch)

Natalie Tarr, MA (University of Basel, natalie.tarr@bluewin.ch)

Dr. Gabriele Slezak (University of Vienna, (G.Slezak@oefse.at)