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Bryn Mawr students reflect on their translation experience with World Pulse

Written by / Écrit par Irène Lucia Delaney & Zaha Abuelsamen

English version:

As the semester comes to a close, we take the opportunity to reflect on our experience with World Pulse and our translation work throughout this year. As students at Bryn Mawr College, we were offered the chance to partake in a “Praxis” independent study dedicated to translating blogs written by Congolese women and men. This project was a new collaboration between World Pulse, the Maman Shujaa Media Center in the Democratic Republic of the Congo, and students and professors here at Bryn Mawr in Pennsylvania. Our goal here was to carefully translate the blog posts that the Maman Shujaa members published in French on the World Pulse website and to communicate with them about what they had written. In doing so, we gained invaluable insight, made many connections, and gained real-world experience. However, the process on our end was quite regular and simple. Each week, we translated independently for four to eight hours and attended peer-editing meetings to polish our work, ask questions of one another, and reflect on what we had learned. Then, we posted our corrected translations on the World Pulse site and composed brief commentaries in French for the original posters at Maman Shujaa, hopefully hearing back from them and continuing the conversation.

What makes Praxis a unique experience are the worldwide connections that we have found through the vessel of the World Pulse site. Whereas most college courses aim to understand cultural practices and dynamics strictly through a theoretical lens, our work translating blogs has given us a closer rapport with the Congolese women and men who write them. We read and translated posts ranging from personal stories, letters, calls to action, grateful accounts of their time at the Maman Shujaa Center, explanations of the problems and the virtues of the modern-day Congo, and detailed plans for its future. For us, these translations required not only a good mastery of the French language and its nuances, but also careful attention to the content at hand. We devoted much time and attention to best represent these women and men’s voices in the English versions of their blogs. In turn, this gave us exposure to the reality of the situation and to the diverse types of solutions that the Congolese themselves propose.

Though the role we played was small in view of the astounding work done by World Pulse and the Maman Shujaa, we feel fortunate to have been involved with a network that connects people from across the world, bridging cultures and thoughts through the power of self-expression and dialogue. We are also lucky to have had access to various external resources, whether virtual media – videos and journalistic articles – or real meetings with activists working in or near the Congo. For instance, our visit with Neema Namadamu in September had a huge motivational impact on the work that we have done since. She made us aware of the important role that technology plays with regards to global women’s empowerment. Being fully immersed in this project and translating blogs by Congolese people allowed us to transcend the typical conversation about the Congo and to have a very profound, hands-on experience. This made our perspective rich and multifaceted and showed us the virtues and joys of translating for a specific community.

For these new insights and for your thoughtful and brave contributions, we would like to thank you, the women and men of the Maman Shujaa Center. We are so grateful for the chance to reflect on your proposals, your stories, your worries, and your dreams for the future. We all feel that we have helped to build a virtual relationship with you through this project. It is our sincere hope that the English translations we have posted alongside your blogs will allow others, throughout the world, to access your words and to take them to heart. We look forward to reading what you write in the future and we send you our warmest wishes and thanks.

Version française :

Comme le semestre se termine, nous avons l’occasion de revenir sur nos expériences avec World Pulse et sur les traductions que nous avons faites au cours de l’année. En tant qu’étudiantes à Bryn Mawr College, nous avons eu la chance de prendre part à une étude indépendante “Praxis” consacrée à la traduction de blogs écrits par des Congolais. Ce projet était une nouvelle collaboration entre World Pulse, le centre Maman Shujaa en République Démocratique du Congo, et les étudiantes et professeurs ici à Bryn Mawr en Pennsylvanie. Pour nous, le but était de traduire précisément et consciencieusement ces blogs publiés, en français, par les membres de Maman Shujaa sur le site de World Pulse et de converser avec ces gens à propos de ce qu’ils avaient écrit. De ce fait, nous avons gagné des perspectives inestimables, avons entrepris plusieurs correspondances, et avons acquis de l’expérience pratique. Cependant, de notre côté, le processus était régulier et assez simple. Chaque semaine, nous passions 4 à 8 heures à traduire les blogs indépendamment et nous assistions à des réunions pour réviser nos traductions ensemble, pour se poser des questions, et pour revenir sur ce que nous avions appris. Ensuite, nous postions nos traductions corrigées sur le site de World Pulse et nous laissions de brefs commentaires en français pour les bloggeurs de Maman Shujaa, en espérant développer un dialogue avec eux.

Cette expérience est unique grâce aux rapports mondiaux que nous avons établis à travers le site web de World Pulse. Bien que la plupart des cours universitaires visent à examiner les dynamiques culturelles d’une approche strictement théorique, ce projet nous a permis de créer des rapports plus proches avec ces bloggeurs. Nous avons lu et traduit divers articles de blogs dont des histoires personnelles, des lettres, des appels à action, des récits reconnaissants, des explications des problèmes et des vertus de la R.D.C., et des plans détaillés pour l’avenir du pays. Pour nous, ces traductions exigeaient non seulement un bon niveau de langue française et une compréhension de ses nuances, mais aussi un soin particulier du contenu. Nous avons consacré beaucoup de temps et d’attention pour mieux représenter les voix de ces bloggeurs en produisant les versions anglaises de leur blogs. Cela nous a fait prendre conscience de la réalité de la situation là-bas et des diverses pistes de solutions proposées par les Congolais eux-mêmes.

Alors que le rôle que nous avons joué ait été mineur par rapport au travail inspirant de World Pulse et de Maman Shujaa, nous sommes chanceuses d’avoir pris part à ce réseau mondial qui nous permet d’établir des passerelles entre des cultures grâce au dialogue et à l’expression de soi. Ce fut enrichissant d’avoir eu accès aux divers ressources externes : des médias virtuels – comme des vidéos et des articles de presse – et des rencontres en personne avec des activistes engagés en ou près de la RDC. Par exemple, notre réunion avec Neema Namadamu en septembre a eu un grand impact sur le travail que nous avons fait depuis le début. Elle a insisté sur le rôle essentiel que la technologie jouait dans la lutte pour la promotion du statut des femmes dans le monde entier. Notre immersion complète dans ce projet nous a permis de transcender la discussion typique au sujet de la RDC pour avoir une expérience profonde et pratique. Ceci a enrichi notre perspective et nous a exposé aux vertus et aux joies de traduire pour une communauté particulière.

Pour ces nouvelles perspectives et pour vos contributions réfléchies et courageuses, nous voudrions vous remercier, mesdames et messieurs du Centre Maman Shujaa. Nous vous sommes tellement reconnaissantes d’avoir eu l’occasion de découvrir et traduire vos histoires, vos propositions, vos soucis, et vos rêves pour l’avenir. Pour notre part, nous avons l’impression d’avoir établi, par l’intermédiaire de World Pulse, un bon rapport avec vous à travers ce projet. Nous espérons sincèrement que les traductions anglaises que nous avons postées à côté de vos blogs permettront aux personnes du monde entier d’accéder à vos pensées et de les prendre à coeur. Nous avons hâte de lire ce que vous écrirez à l’avenir. Nous aimerions vous dire un grand merci et nous vous envoyons en retour des vœux chaleureux.

This story was written for World Pulse’s Women Weave the Web Digital Action Campaign. Learn more »

Comments

Greengirl's picture

I love this!

I am so glad to read about your first hand experiences. It is very stimulating, and I love the fact that you had very exciting moments working with, learning from and connecting with our World Pulse sisters and brothers from the DRC. Efforts such as yours go a long way to make our community and the world a better place.

Just wondering if each or anyone of you would readily recommend such an opportunity to others- peers, family, friends, associates etc)? If yes, why?

While I look forward to your response(s), I say big congratulations to each one of you for a job well done!

Greengirl

Emily Garcia's picture

Heartfelt thanks!

Dear Irène and Zaha,

Thank you so much for sharing your experience with the World Pulse community and for all the terrific work you've done translating French-language journals into English!

It is wonderful to hear that the experience has been rewarding for you and that you've made connections with some of the women and men of the Maman Shujaa media center. I know that your presence in the community and engagement with our Mama Shujaa members by commenting on their posts has been so appreciated!

With heartfelt thanks,
Emily

Emily Garcia
World Pulse Online Community Lead

muhorakeye's picture

merci irene lucia de pense a

merci irene lucia de pense a notre pays DRC precisement dans le centre maman shujaa bukavu la ou je suis . votre tradiction nous a aide par ce que les membres de site worlde pulse ne savait pas le france touces , ce pour quoi votre projet de tradiction des nos journal est importente, merci pour ce travail que vous faite courage

Muhorakeye Esperance

Julie.Desai's picture

Great Read

This is a great piece and we at world pulse are thankful to you for sharing it with all of us. It has a multiple effect as many more students will be inspired to work with organisation and learn about the many cultures.

It was a great work done and I must congratulate you and your team including the teachers who took this initiative.

Good luck and keep up the good work.

Julie

Nabiye Tal's picture

What a Great Job you are doing

Dear Irene and Zaha,
I have read so many posts from the Maman Shujaa Media Center that i feel like I'm already part of you guys. Sharing your experience gives me even clearer insights about your work. I have been motivated by you and i am thinking of enrolling in the French class here in Nigeria so that when i meet you all soon we will both flow in French and in English. Thanks to World Pulse for this connection and the opportunity to learn from one another. Weldone! And Much Love!!!

Nabiye Tal,
Founder/CEO- IEVAWC.
@nabiye, @ievawc

Giovanna's picture

Thanks!

Dear Irène and Zaha--

What a pleasure to read of your experience translating. While it was clear to me how important the work of the translator is, I hadn't really given much thought to the added benefits that you would have experienced through doing the translating.

Thanks for your work!

Giovanna

kariz's picture

Dear Irene and Zaha Coming

Dear Irene and Zaha
Coming from a bilingual country i know how valuable it is to be able to communicate effectively with each other irrespective of our origins.
it can be so fraustrating when you have to send accross a message and your audience cannot get your intensions clearly.

Donot under estimate the work you have been doing in DRC.
you have enabled the entire world see through your translations what has been happening and giving the writers feed back gotten from worldwide.
keep up and we know it is going to get better and better when not only cultural barriers are broken but language as well.

nous savons qu'il ya des meilleurs choses devant pour les femmes congolaise alors courage

Charis-Shalom
LK

Kit's picture

the unexpected gifts of translation

Dear Irene Lucia and Zaha,

Your post describes a wonderful way to give and to learn. For this project you were actively engaged with speakers of two languages and two countries, practicing and sharing your translation skills in an international forum. As you practiced your skills, your lives were unexpectedly enriched by the stories and dreams you translated. Those whose work you translated were also enriched by their interactions with you. How gratifying to see the work of World Pulse amplified in this way.

with kindness,
Kit

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