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Literary Translation and Nation-Building in Post-Independence Tanzania

Title data

Talento, Serena:
Literary Translation and Nation-Building in Post-Independence Tanzania.
In: Rundle, Christopher (ed.): The Routledge Handbook of Translation History. - London : Routledge , 2022 . - pp. 337-352 . - (Routledge Handbooks in Translation and Interpreting Studies )
ISBN 9781315640129

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Abstract in another language

In the two decades 1962-1982, the nation-building project in the newly independent Tanganyika (later Tanzania) led to President Julius Kambarage Nyerere’s utopic vision of ujamaa, or Tanzanian socialism. Translation and critical debates on the practice of translation occupied a controversial place in the project of forging a (cultured) nation. In this paper, I discuss the relationship between the construction of ujamaa and translation practices in a way that helps us to comprehend to what extent the two nourished each other. My aim is to explore the contribution of translation to fostering the establishment and development of ujamaa in Tanzania, and to elucidate the impact of ujamaa in dictating the tenets of the circulation and choice of translations. In this sense, the paper reflects a twin-track approach, where the history of translation provides insights into the nature of Tanzanian socialism, and the history of socialism informs our understanding of translation practices.
The analysis is constructed around three factors. Firstly, a study of translation flows leads to a critical discussion of which genres, source languages and source authors were favoured and which rejected. Secondly, a perusal of the discursive institutionalisation of texts via para- and extratextual analysis proves effective in foregrounding how a translation has been conceptualised and presented to the audience, and is an aid to understanding who is talking about translation, and in what terms. These textual elements will be considered against the background of political discourses, in order to discern imbrications and collisions. Thirdly, the structure and dialogic relationship of the political and literary fields will be taken into consideration, in order to track translators’ trajectories (in the Boudieusian understanding) and bring to the fore not only the role of agencies taking part in translation flows, but also their negotiations between global and local systems.
This methodological apparatus informs the discussion of translation as an instrument to conceptualise the concept of kujitegemea (self-reliance) at the basis of the ujamaa project, and the negotiations between localism and internationalism; to construct the ideal of the intellectual patriot; and to articulate a critique of the socialist regime.
The article not only poses methodological questions on how to conduct historical research in the East African context, but also invites reflection on interaction between history and translation studies as an interdisciplinary research framework.

Further data

Item Type: Article in a book
Refereed: Yes
Keywords: translation and nationalism; Swahili translation; nation-building; translation history
Institutions of the University: Faculties
Faculties > Faculty of Languages and Literature
Faculties > Faculty of Languages and Literature > Professor Literatures in African Languages
Result of work at the UBT: Yes
DDC Subjects: 400 Language > 490 Other languages
800 Literature
800 Literature > 890 Other literatures
900 History and geography > 960 History of Africa
Date Deposited: 23 Sep 2021 07:25
Last Modified: 18 Mar 2024 12:58
URI: https://eref.uni-bayreuth.de/id/eprint/67095