An Assessment of the Audiovisual Translation Landscape in Cameroon | January 2015 | Translation Journal

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An Assessment of the Audiovisual Translation Landscape in Cameroon

 Translation Journal Landscape in Cameroon

Abstract
This paper examines the various studies that have been carried out in the domain of audiovisual translation mode in Cameroon by Cameroonian researchers. It identifies what has been done so far, critically examines the frameworks, methods and procedures used, determines and appraises what is still to be done and charts the way forward. The analysis of the various studies shows that among the three areas of audiovisual translation generally known as subtitling, dubbing and voice-over, there has been appreciable work on subtitling even though the utilisation of this mode in the audiovisual structures is still lagging behind while dubbing and voice-over are still at embryonic states. Following this critical study, proposals and recommendations are made to refocus research in the area of subtitling and to stimulate research in the neglected areas of dubbing and voice-over.

1. Introduction and Context

The audiovisual (AV) industry in Cameroon has been an outstanding communication tool in the country since the dawn of independence in 1960. According to Tanjong et al. (2012), radio broadcasting began in Cameroon in 1941, when the French government opened the first radio station in Douala, ‘Radio Douala’, also known as “A Child of War”. Later, it became the department of radio broadcasting controlled by the then Ministry of Information and Culture after independence. Television broadcasting followed in 1985 (25 years after independence) with the establishment of the government-owned Cameroon Television (CTV). The Department of Radio Broadcasting and Cameroon Television operated as separate entities until 17 December 1987 following a strike action by journalists of the radio. This action resulted in a Presidential Decree that fused radio and television to create a new media house named the ‘Cameroon Radio Television Corporation’ (CRTV) (official website of the CRTV, 2014).

Initially, CRTV retained monopoly over broadcasting for several years. However, this ended with the publication of a Prime Ministerial Order No. 200/158 of 3 April 2000, which liberalised the AV sector. Presently, the country has over 80 radio stations and five national television stations (Tanjong et al., 2012). The CRTV has evolved significantly, has continued to increase media coverage, and is much more bilingual than the other television stations. However, it has failed to adequately address the needs of the hearing impaired in its programmes (Ako, 2013).

The AV companies such as Canal 2 International, Spectrum Television 1, Spectrum Television 2, TV Max and Ariane Television have come to put an end to CRTV’s longstanding monopoly in the AV sector (Esambe, 2007). They now constitute a serious challenge to CRTV which can no longer singlehandedly cater for the AV needs of the millions of television viewers especially as the country is now in a context which, according to Gnotuom (2009), is marked by a high demand from the viewers who are constantly on a search for more captivating television programmes. According to Tane (2008), this viewership is more interested in programmes which portray their daily lives and despite the remarkable growth of Cameroon’s AV sector, broadcasting companies are still facing many difficulties. Tane (2010) points out that Cameroonian television channels, just like many West African channels, face problems especially at the level of content, professional management, procurement of programmes and satellite bandwidths, adaptation to new economic norms, and insufficient professional human resources.

Even though sixteen types of audiovisual translation (AVT) modes (subtitling, dubbing, voice-over, interpreting, surtitling, free commentary, partial dubbing, simultaneous translation, live subtitling, subtitling for the deaf and hearing-impaired, audio description, script translation, animation, multimedia translation, double versions, remakes) have so far been identified by various researchers in the field [Luyken et al. (1991), Gambier (1996), De Linde and Kay (1999), Agost (1999), Chaves (2000); Diaz Cintas (2001), Chaume (2004), Gambier (2004)], Chaume (2004) states that they are not a closed group but an ever-growing whole and so new types are added or split over time. Most theorists however agree on the major groups that make up these modes of AVT, that is, shift from oral to written codes (subtitling), synchronisation (dubbing) and semi-synchronisation (voice-over). This article will be based on these three major AVT groups.

2. Statement of the problem

In the globalised world today, science and technology constitute the driving force of change and development that are improving the lives of human beings. In the multimedia world (television, radio, internet, etc.), changes are evident in the quantity and quality of AV media productions, thus making information and entertainment readily and widely accessible to many people and in Cameroon in particular (Obia, 2010; Nfor, 2011; Ako, 2013). Audiovisual translation is a relatively new domain in Cameroon. It is still a fledgling sector both in academic and professional spheres. As of now, training in AVT in Cameroon is offered only in two translator-training schools: The Advanced School of Translators and Interpreters (ASTI) in Buea and the “Institut Supérieur de Traduction et Interprétation (ISTI)” in Yaounde. Consequently, AVT as a professional activity in the country has mostly been carried out by non-professionals (Mba Bizo, 2009; Kamdem, 2009). There has been significant interest and thus publications in the domain of AVT especially in the area of subtitling. Despite the significant number of studies carried out so far by researchers in the country, one wonders why AVT still appears to be at an embryonic state. This concern leads us to the following questions: (i) What type of research has so far been carried out on AVT in Cameroon? (ii) With all its attested importance, why is the national media still lagging behind in practicing AVT? (iii) What is the way forward?

3. Objectives

Based on the above contextualization, the aims of this paper are to:

i) identify the type of research work that has been carried out so far in the audiovisual
translation sector in Cameroon,
ii) establish and examine the reasons why the national media is still lagging behind in
practicing audiovisual translation, and
iii) determine and appraise what is still to be done.

4. Methodology

The methodology involved: (i) identifying from field survey, the various types of research work that have been carried out so far in the audiovisual translation sector in Cameroon; (ii) examining critically the frameworks, methods and procedures used; iii) determining difficulties faced and the reasons that slow down research in some of the areas and; (iv) identifying areas for further research and making proposals for the way forward.

5. Types of Research on Audiovisual Translation in Cameroon

5.1 Subtitling

Given the multilingual and multicultural nature of Cameroon and the AVT potential of subtitling in fostering bilingualism and multilingualism, language acquisition, literacy training and academic literacy, this mode of AVT is, according to Ayonghe et al. (2009), the most appropriate choice for the country. The fact that Cameroon is a bilingual country with English and French as official languages, alongside 286 national languages, makes the country to be a fertile ground for translation as a whole and AVT in particular. This is because, due to the country’s bilingualism/multilingualism policy and the determination of its leaders to promote both official and national languages, the practice of translation is highly encouraged (Ayonghe et al., 2009; Ako, 2013). However, contrary to these expectations, the practice of AVT is very much absent in the country (Ayonghe et al., 2009; Tawah, 2010; Ako, 2013). Subtitled programmes are hardly broadcast on TV stations, and most of the dubbed programmes broadcast are imported from abroad. Ayonghe et al. (2009) affirm that subtitling is not yet an established mode of AVT in the country. Nevertheless, in spite of this delay, Diaz Cintas (2004) states that there is a promising future for AVT, and there has been significant interest on the subject. A summary and description of the studies carried out in the area of subtitling is presented below.

Djomo (2009), set out to investigate a number of issues: how useful subtitling was to the Cameroonian audience, how much subtitling could contribute to the country’s social context, how Cameroonians perceived subtitling, whether investing in the AV sector a priority for developing countries, and if the responsibility of development lay with the translator. He finally fell in line with Ayonghe’s postulate and opted for subtitling as a means for promoting bilingualism, multilingualism and social integration in the country. Awono (2009) did a similar study as Djomo in the same year and concluded that subtitling could effectively promote bilingualism and national intergration. Ndondji (2009) dwelled on advantages and challenges faced by a translator who specializes in subtitling. Wojungbwen (2011), sought to find out at the Ephphatha Institute for the Deaf Kumba whether subtitles of the programme “Killer Tigers” guaranteed hard-of-hearing viewers sufficient access to and comprehension of messages conveyed and to determine their level of satisfaction as concerns the quality and quantity of subtitled programmes shown on Cameroon Television channels. He concluded that the hearing impaired preferred sign language for programmes like news casts, sport programmes and talk shows, while subtitles were suitable for movies and documentaries. Ayonghe and Wojungbwen (2013) demonstrated that the hearing impaired in Cameroon prefer sign language as compared to subtitling which required a higher level of literacy.

Ako (2013) investigated the pertinent role of subtitling for the deaf and hard-of-hearing in guaranteeing media accessibility and drew attention on how hearing impaired viewers’ right to information could be respected using subtitling for the deaf and hard-of-hearing (SDH). Arrey’s thesis (2013) was based on assessing the translation quality of auto-subtitles in the film Le temoin de l’ombre (Kouyembous, 2011). His study revealed that without training in subtitling, a film producer will face enormous problems in auto-subtitling his or her own product. Npangang (2014) did the same type of research like Wafeng (2009) using a different corpus. Mbele (2010) focused on the role of subtitling in local language learning. Her work was guided by the hypothesis that subtitling was crucial for language learning and the promotion of Cameroonian languages. She used a sample population of Bamoun-speakers to confirm her hypothesis. She concluded that AV programmes should be produced in local languages, subtitled in official languages and broadcast in the country. Ntowa (2013) centered on using subtitling to teach English language to French Speaking Students in Cameroon and concluded that subtitling could boost the French speaking student’s level of English language.

Ayonghe (2009a) carried out a study with 400 students from different localities of the country and different academic disciplines at the University of Buea and demonstrated that, by exposing these students to subtitled programmes as part of the university curriculum will improve their levels of academic literacy and hence their overall performance. Ayonghe et al. (2009) proved that subtitling was ill-known and inadequately exploited in the country. Ayonghe (2009b) postulated that, given the multilingual and multicultural nature of Cameroon, and the potential of subtitling for the fostering of bilingualism, multilingualism, for language teaching, acquisition, for literacy training and academic literacy, this AVT mode was the most appropriate choice for the country. Ayonghe (2013) proved that by exposing students to subtitling, even for a short time, improved their academic literacy levels. Ayonghe (2014a & 2014b) demonstrated that AVT played an important role in the implementation of language policies, and in the enhancement and promotion of the English language in Cameroon respectively.

Mboudjeke (2010), on his part, using the subtitles of Bekolo’s Quartier Mozart (1992) studied some theoretical and practical difficulties in relation to the subtitling of sociolects. Employing the concept of ‘ethical translation’ propounded by Berman (1984) and Venuti (1998) as the foundation for his study, he posit that the subtitlers of this film should have used pidgin-English expressions so as to imitate the orality of the source dialogues and reduce the defamiliarising effect of the English subtitles. Using a Nigerian movie, Pemboura (2007) described the strategies peculiar to subtitling, highlighted the constraints of time and space involved in carrying out this AVT mode and concluded that these peculiarities were what differentiated this mode from other AVT modes.

Wafeng (2009), working on another Nigerian film, Return of Karishika, probed the problems faced in the transfer of cultural elements in AVT in general and subtitling in particular. She presented the strategies employed by the subtitler and ended up confirming the hypothesis that context influences intercultural mediation in subtitling. Endomo (2014) did a similar study to Wafend’s using a different corpus. Moussa’s thesis (2009), focusing yet on another Nigerian film Jamila Chasis (Muhammed, 2009), handled the effect of subtitling errors on message transfer in AVT. She concluded that subtitling errors hinder the proper understanding of a film.

Yemeli (2010) analysed subtitles of a Nigerian movie in a bid to identify the different translation and subtitling strategies used. She focused on the transfer of humour in particular and concluded that not all subtitling strategies were employed and that not all methods used in translating humour were used. Hence, meaning was not adequately transferred due to the lack of professionals in the field. Ndaga (2011) worked on the evaluation of subtitles in the translation of colloquial expressions and ended up with the same conclusions as Yemeli. Nfor (2011) carried out an investigation to find out if the subtitles used in Paris à tout prix (Ndagnou, 2007) adequately conveyed the message of the source dialogues while respecting the fundamental principles of subtitling and the purpose of the subtitled film. He analysed the use of modulation and adaptation in order to assess this adequacy and arrived at the conclusion that the quality of the subtitles was affected by the fact that the subtitler failed to respect some subtitling principles and that he did not adequately master the socio-cultural context in which the film was set.

It is evident from the foregoing that appreciable research has been carried out in the field of subtitling by both students and teachers (Table 1). This is probably due to the fact that ASTI has been teaching AVT particularly subtitling since 2005 with the content covering aspects which include: AVT strategies; quality assessment in AVT; AVT as a tool for language teaching, learning, acquisition; promoting bilingualism/multilingualism; promoting local languages; teaching French to English speaking students and vice versa; AVT as a tool for developing the country’s economy, for unification, for the hearing impaired; as well as the localization of websites which include the analysis on the linguistic and cultural aspects of MTN Cameroon’s local websites in a bid to understand the approach and strategies employed in the translation and adaptation of the advertisement message of this company. However, some of these research domains have been focused on foreign films such as from Nigeria.

Regarding the development of AVT in Cameroon, only one research study has so far been carried out on a Cameroonian film with the objective to improve on the quality of Cameroonian films and hoping that improved quality will have some bearing on the distribution and appreciation of Cameroonian films (Nfor, 2011).

Table 1: A Compilation of research studies on subtitling

S/N

Author’s Name and Year

Title/Topic

Type

1

Ayonghe Lum Suzanne, Jan-Louis Kruger, Suh Joseph Che & Chia Emmanuel Ngess (2009)

An Assessment of the State of Subtitling in Cameroon : Past, Present and Future

Article

2

Ayonghe Lum Suzanne (2009)

Subtitling as a Tool for the Promotion of Bilingualism/Multilingualism in Cameroon

Article

3

Mboudjeke Jean-Guy (2010)

La pidginisation de l’anglais comme solution de traduction dans le sous-titrage de Quartier Mozart de J.-P. Bekolo

Article

4

Ayonghe Lum Suzanne (2013)

Assessing the Impact of Audiovisual Translation on the Improvement of Academic Literacy

Article

5

Ayonghe Lum Suzanne & Wojungbwen Ngumuh Emmanuel (2013)

Audiovisual Translation: An Appraisal of Subtitling by the Hard-of-Hearing in Cameroon: Evidence from the Ephata Institute for the Deaf, Kumba

Article

6

Ayonghe Lum Suzanne (2014)

The Role of Audiovisual Translation in the Implementation of Language Policies in Cameroon

Article

7

Ayonghe Lum Suzanne (2014)

The Role of Audiovisual Translation in the Enhancement and the Promotion of the English Language in Cameroon

Article

8

Ayonghe Lum Suzanne (2009)

Subtitling as an Aid in Academic Literacy Programmes: The University of Buea. PhD Thesis at the North West University, Vaal Triangle Campus, South Africa.

PhD Thesis

9

Pemboura Ghagne Josy Danielle (2007)

Strategies du traduction dans le sous-titrage: Le cas du film Tears of the Sun

MA Thesis

10

Asma Moussa (2009)

L’incidence des erreurs de sous-titrage sur la compréhension d’un film: le cas de Jamila Chasis de Yemi Laniyan

MA Thesis

11

Djomo Tioko Carlos (2009)

Sous-titrage au Cameroun: Enjeux et Perspectives pour le Développement

MA Thesis

12

Wafeng Mireille (2009)

Médiation Interculturelle en Traduction Audiovisuelle: Étude de cas du Sous-titrage en Français du Film Nigérian The Return of Karishika

MA Thesis

13

Ndondji Ateuafack Samuel (2009)

Le traducteur et la specialisation en sous-titrage: acquis et defis

MA Thesis

14

Awono Angoa Serge (2009)

Le sous-titrage au Cameroun: enjeux et perspectives

MA Thesis

15

Mbele Diane Florence (2010)

Le rôle du Sous-titrage dans la revalorisation des langues nationales au Cameroun

MA Thesis

16

Yemeli Tche Monique (2010)

Stratégies du sous-titrage de l’humour: Cas du film Bonjour de Nkem Owoh

MA Thesis

17

Wojungbwen Ngumuh Emmanuel (2011)

An Appraisal of Subtiling by the Hard of Hearing in Cameroon: The Ephota Institut for the Deaf

MA Thesis

18

Ndaga Fonjong Armstrong (2011)

Evaluating the translation of colloquialism into subtitles: The case of KADER and Karim’s Old school from French into English

MA Thesis

19

Nfor Edwin Njinyoh (2011)

Modulation and Adaptation in the Interlingual Subtitling of Josephine Ndagnou’s Paris a tout prix

MA Thesis

20

Ako Mankah Stephany (2013)

Assessing media accessibility for the hearing impaired through subtitling

MA Thesis

21

Ntowa Tchuingoua Rachelle Nelly (2013)

Intralingual Subtitling: An aid in English Language Learning for French Speaking Students in Cameroon

MA Thesis

22

Arrey Divine (2013)

Translation Quality Assessment of the Interlingual Auto-Subtitles in the film Le Temoin de l’Ombre by Kouyembous Mireille Idolette

MA Thesis

23

Endomo Endomo Lionel (2014)

La traduction des allusions et références culturelles dans la version sous-titrée de la série Everybody Hates Chris

MA Thesis

24

Npagang Kemegne Armelle (2014)

Evaluation des paramètres de sous-titrage en Français du film Mark of the Absolute de Ferdinand Asaba

MA Thesis

5.2 Dubbing

In the area of dubbing, Soh (1997 & 2009) studied and described the process of film dubbing, the intellectual process of film comprehension for an equivalent rewording of the dubbed version of a film. He based his examples on extracts of "Gone with the wind". His study enabled him to explain the mechanism through which meaning is formed and reworded during the process of film dubbing. Analysis of the major types of synchronisation (phonetic, syntactic and artistic) on which dubbing quality depends shows that cinematographic and AV dubbing requires equivalence at two levels namely sound and meaning. In another article, Soh (2006) presented a dubbing text as a complex fabric in which AV elements and gestures play their role. According to him, the translation of the linguistic elements should take into account the weight of image and sound elements. He then concluded that the dubbing text is a compound made up of the image track, the sound track, and the paralinguistic elements of the message that these elements come together to produce the dubbing text.

Melong (2007) identified the difficulties encountered in dubbing the movie “Jesus” into the local Cameroonian language “Ngyemboon”. He discussed the effectiveness of the strategies used and concluded that most of the difficulties were related to linguistic and cultural variations as well as to the technical requirements of dubbing and proposed domestication and adaptation as solutions to these problems. Eloundou (2008) examined the difficulties faced by translators in the dubbing of Nigerian films into French. She concluded that the dubbing was performed by amateurs who have virtually little or no mastery of AVT norms, and proposed solutions for improving on the quality of dubbed products. In the same manner, Mbohli (2011) did a similar study which was based on the impact of non-verbal communication in the dubbing of Nigerian films into French. Teuma (2014) on her part carried out a study based on the influence of viewing habits on AVT preferences, using the case of Anglophones in Cameroon. She concluded that Anglophones were more exposed to dubbing through DVDs than TV. Ngouno (2012) did a similar study like Nfor (2011) with a different film, a dubbed version of Hotel Rwanda (Terry, 2004) and concluded that despite visual constraints, namely the close-up shot, Hotel Rwanda’s French version is faithful to the English original version.

From the aforementioned, studies carried out in the field of dubbing so far (see Table 2) include strategies in dubbing films from English into French, a corpus study of dubbing a film from French into “Ngyemboon”; equivalence of sound and equivalence of understanding in the dubbing process of a film; the potentials and prospects of dubbing in Cameroon; the impact of non-verbal communication in a dubbing process; and visual constraints in dubbing.

As can be seen, very few studies have so far been carried out in dubbing. One of the reasons for this handicap is that dubbing is being taught in ASTI only at the introductory stage and the building of a dubbing studio is envisaged. Secondly, there are no Cameroonian professionals practicing this mode on any of the TV channels. This is because the construction of a dubbing studio and training in dubbing is very expensive, very demanding, and time consuming as compared to subtitling. Due to the above difficulties, many students shy away from carrying any research on this AVT mode and there are so far, barely a few studies as indicated in Table 2.

Table 2: A Compilation of research studies on dubbing

S/N

Author’s Name and Year

Title

Type

1

Soh Tatcha Charles (2006)

Le texte de doublage cinématographique: une hétérogénéité à interroger.

Article

2

Soh Tatcha Charles (2009)

Doublage cinématographique et audiovisuel : équivalence de son, équivalence de sens

Article

3

Soh Tatcha Charles (1997)

Sens et doublage cinématographique : étude de doublage de "Gone with the wind" (David O. Selznick et Victor Fleming, 1939), d'après le roman de Margaret Mitchell, traduit et doublé en français sous le titre "Autant en emporte le vent".

PhD Thesis

4

Melong Justin (2007)

A Corpus Study of the Dubbing of Jesus in Ngyemboon

MA Thesis

5

Eloundou Mfegue Barbara Estelle Geraldine (2008)

Etude traductologique du doublage en Français de deux films Nigérians: L’impuissance et L’impuissance 2

MA Thesis

6

Mbohli Grace (2011)

Impact of non-verbal Communication in the Dubbing Process: The case of Nigerian Films into French

MA Thesis

7

Ngouno Signe Huguette Astride (2012)

Compensation et adaptation dans la version française du téléfilm Hotel Rwanda de Terry George

MA Thesis

8

Teuma Joselyne Gertrude (2014)

The influence of viewing habits on audiovisual translation preferences: The case of Anglophones in Cameroon with Dubbing

MA Thesis

5.3 Voice-Over

The only studies carried out so far on voice-over (see Table 3 below) are on the quality of edited and broadcast voice-over materials of TV interviews in CRTV, as well as an analysis of voice-over in CRTV. Enow (2012) in her thesis, assessed and evaluated the quality of edited and broadcasted TV interviews, looked at the technical aspects of voice-over translation in order to highlight the impact of the loss of meaning and the impact it will have on its ability to portray authenticity both in content and visual aspects. She found that the respect of voice-over standards was a pre-condition for an effective transfer of the message from source text (ST) to the target text (TT) and that the loss of meaning in voice-over translation might act as a stumbling block to the understanding of the message of the original text. She further confirmed that the lack of synchrony was responsible for ineffective voice-over which therefore kills the feeling of reality and authenticity. Ayonghe and Enow (2014), analysed the practice of voice-over in CRTV, the government media house and their study revealed that voice-over was practiced mostly in newscasts and done by the journalists themselves and not by professionals which lead sometimes to very poor voice-over quality in terms of meaning and content.

It can be deduced that voice-over is carried out on a daily basis over the Cameroonian TV even though it is done by the journalists themselves. This mode is also taught in ASTI at an introductory stage.

It should be stated here that most researchers worldwide shy away from carrying out research in this AVT mode (Enow, 2012) because over the years, while subtitling and dubbing have been attracting interest and have occupied central stage with a respectable number of publications in both research and teaching at university level, voice-over has been left aside or not clearly understood, as pointed out by Gambier and Suomela-Salmi (1994), Franco (2000) and Orero (2005).

Table 3: A Compilation of research studies on Voice-Over

S/N

Author’s Name and Year

Title

Type

1

Ayonghe Lum Suzanne & Enow Ette Felicity (2014)

Audiovisual translation in Cameroon: An Analysis of Voice-over in Cameroon Radio and Television (CRTV)

Article

2

Enow Ette Felicity (2012)

The Quality of Edited and Broadcasted Voice-over Materials of TV Interviews: The Case of CRTV

MA Thesis

5.4 Other types of audiovisual translation research

The studies in this section include a mixture of two or all three AVT types discussed in this paper as shown in Table 4. Wakep (2010) focused on an AV domain which has not been covered by the rest. Her work was on website localisation and she analysed the linguistic and cultural aspects of MTN Cameroon’s local websites in a bid to understand the approach and strategies employed in the translation and adaptation of the advertisement message of this company of South African origin to the Cameroonian audience. Similarly, Ayonghe and Wakep (2014) demonstrated the importance of Computer Assisted Translation within the localization framework of the Mobile Telephone Network in Cameroon. Tawah (2010) sought to assess the potentials and prospects of dubbing and voice-over in Cameroon. Results here revealed that dubbed and voiced-over programmes were very useful to the Cameroonian audience. However, these modes faced problems of synchronisation which, if solved, would go a long way to impact positively on the country. Obia (2010) delved into the socioeconomic situation of the AVT industry in Cameroon by assessing its state, the issues it faced, and government’s attitude towards it. His findings revealed that AVT was still at an embryonic stage and was plagued with many non-professionals. Tchamda (2013) did a study on the influence of the image in the AVT of the film Hercule, Le Bossu de Notre Dame, Raiponce (Trousdale, 1996) and found that the perception and interpretation of the reality described in the source text could be influenced by the images from the film. Ategha (2009) in a write-up submitted to the Prime Ministry, the Ministries of Culture, Communication and Tourism and titled “The Power of film translation, Cameroon film industry/TV documentaries: Dubbing or Subtitling?”, advocated for subtitling as the appropriate screen translation mode for Cameroon.

Table 4: A Compilation of research studies on a combination of AVT and other types of AVT modes

S/N

Author’s Name and Year

Title

Type

1

Ayonghe Lum Suzanne & Wakep Adeline (2014)

L'importance de la Traduction Assistee par Ordinateur dans le cadre de la Localisation des Sites Web au Cameroon: Le cas de l'operateur de telephone mobile MTN

Article

2

Kamdem T. R. (2009)

Sous-titrage ou Doublage interlingual au Cameroun? Le cas des étudiants francophones de Buéa

MA Thesis

3

Tawah Fon Foy (2010)

The Potentials and Prospects of Dubling and Voice-Over in Cameroon

MA Thesis

4

Obia Ranndy (2010)

A Socio-economic Situation of the Audiovisual Translation Industry in Cameroon

MA Thesis

5

Wakep Adeline (2010)

Aspects linguistiques et culturels de la localisation des sites web au Cameroun : le cas de l’opérateur de téléphonie mobile MTN

MA Thesis

6

Tchamda Mbunpi Mariette (2013)

Influence de l'image en Traduction Audiovisuelle: Cas de Hercule, Le Bossus de Notre Dame, Raiponce

MA Thesis

7

Ategha Alphonsius (2009)

‘The Power of film translation’, Cameroon film industry/TV documentaries: Dubbing or Subtitling?

Write-up

6. Problems faced by the national media in practicing AVT

There are several reasons why AVT may still be lagging behind other forms of translation in Cameroon.

i) Despite its importance and the significance it has on development in the country, Cameroonian television channels face problems especially at the level of content, professional management, procurement of programmes, satellite bandwidths, adaptation to new economic norms, and availability of professional human resources. This makes it difficult for these channels to produce their own AVT programmes. With regards to deficiencies in professional human resources, Cameroon mostly draws its AV professionals from the few private professional and public training institutions such as the National Advanced School of Posts and Telecommunications (NASPT), the National Advanced School of Engineering, the University Institute of Technology (UIT), the Advanced School of Mass Communication (ASMAC) of the University of Yaounde I, the Department of Journalism and Mass Communication of the University of Buea, and the Professional Audio-visual Training Centre (PATC) in Yaounde. Although these institutions train professionals for the AV sector, it is obvious that following the rapid changes which are sweeping over the information landscape, especially at the level of technological innovation, considerable efforts have to be made so as to adapt these human resources to the new challenges. Examples of these adaptations include the introduction of AVT in ASTI since 2005. This option is very promising in terms of job creation because with about 280 local languages in Cameroon, this country would have been a natural fertile ground for AVT. Unfortunately, the stakeholders are not encouraging these translation modes. Teaching AVT in universities is simply not enough, the government, the TV stations and other stakeholders have to contribute. Furthermore, the Cameroonian television stations broadcast mostly foreign films/programmes and ought to encourage local producers by broadcasting locally produced films or by broadcasting foreign films with subtitles in local languages.

ii) The problems of professionalism and quality still persist and as more actors get involved in this budding sector, the issue becomes increasingly pressing. In this light, there is still the difficulty and urgent “need to guide all actors towards the production of content that meets ethical, moral and technical standards” (Obia, 2010). Lack of professional training leads to the production of poor AVT programmes. Given that, the viewers’ increasing needs for more interesting programmes is almost equally matched by the increasing number of broadcasting companies in the country, the various existing and future television stations will have to work harder to satisfy the demands of the public. Consequently, some of these companies broadcast all sorts of AV programmes ranging from feature films through music, documentaries and news articles to adverts, mostly of foreign production and often supplemented by a few locally produced programmes within the same range (Nfor, 2011).

iii) Although the only two institutions that offer professional training in AVT in the country are ASTI and ISTI, the CRTV stations do not utilize the AVT professionals who graduate from these institutions. Thus, most programmes broadcast on CRTV are dubbed by foreign companies and this automatically slows down the production of local programmes for the local viewers. Furthermore, as revealed by Ako (2013), AVT programmes especially subtitling are not broadcast by CRTV because most Cameroonians are not ready for such AVT modes and despite the positive effect that AVT could have on the sale and distribution of AV products in general, very few Cameroonian film producers consider translating their films for audiences of a different linguistic and/or cultural background than that in which the film was produced.

iv) Funding is a major problem [Niba (2002), Olinga (2004), Senngwa (2007), Ndoumbè (2008), Olinga (2008)]. Funding is difficult, and causes the making of a film following filmmaking norms difficult (Ndoumbè, 2008). This is even compounded by non-professionals of the domain who make things difficult for the filmmakers by trying to add their own influence to the production of the film (Senngwa, 2007).

v) There is also the Anglophone–Francophone dichotomy that pushes citizens from the French-speaking part of the country to consider the Cameroonian from the English-speaking region as the ‘other’ and vice versa. This feeling has not only hampered unity, but also seems to plague the Cameroonian film industry where films are generally produced and marketed as if the country was monolingual and monocultural. This can be seen through the numbers of published lists of Cameroonian films (Nfor, 2011), and other communication media and channels which generally feature only films in English or in French depending on the linguistic and cultural inclination of the communication media/channel in question. Moreover, despite the positive effect that AVT could have on the sale and distribution of AV products in general, very few Cameroonian film producers consider translating their films for audiences of a different linguistic and/or cultural background from that in which the film was produced.

7. The way forward

A critical look at the research studies presented above shows that, just as pointed out by (Gambier, 2009), most of the studies on interlingual/intralingual subtitling dealt with case studies based on a film or a director, or a specific issue seen as a permanent problem in AVT. Most studies delved on how to translate or adapt cultural references, humor, taboo language, sociolects, etc. Dubbing and voice-over have on the whole been relatively little studied, probably to some extent because of the division of labor between the translator, the adapter and the actors, and the responsibilities that it implies, and partly also because any analysis entails a considerable initial effort of transcription (Gambier, 2009). The research methods used by the Cameroonian researchers are similar. They usually used corpora, questionnaires and interviews for data collection. Based on the above facts, the following research studies in AVT still have to be carried out in the country:

i) The promotion of AVT to the Cameroonian audience especially as the current review has demonstrated that AVT is still in an embryonic state in the country and, as such, many people are still to discover its potentials. This mode of translation could play a key role in the development of the Cameroonian film industry in particular, and the AV sector in general. If it is necessary to employ a foreigner to translate a Cameroonian film, this translator should be assisted by someone who adequately understands the country’s sociocultural context. This equally applies to dubbing and voice-over AVT modes.

ii) The norms for AVT modes in Cameroon should be determined in order to ensure that the country produces its own AVT products and/or programmes.

iii) The technology involved in AVT modes which calls for dedicated AVT laboratories which are linked to Information and Communications Technologies (ICTs) should be acquired and for the training of trainers.

iv) An appropriate AVT mode has to be chosen for Cameroon where mostly dubbed films and scarcely subtitled films are broadcast.

v) An assessment of the quality of AVT products in each of the modes should be done over a period of time and as many times as possible. The results of such assessments can be used to improve on the development and the production of local films and programmes.

vi) A comparative study could be carried out on sign language and subtitling for the hearing impaired, and the results used to assess the teaching of this language and to assess the extent to which it can be used to guarantee media accessibility to the hearing impaired who are more or less always neglected in the society.

vii) An evaluation of reception of AVT by the hearing impaired, as well as for the visually impaired.

8. Conclusion

It has been demonstrated from this assessment that the landscape of AVT in Cameroon has been carried out within the Cameroonian context and with reference to published information on the subject which clearly highlights the fact that different AVT modes are specific for each country especially in cases wherein the practice of AVT has a long history. Dubbing and voice-over modes are still partially at an embryonic stage, and are reported to be mostly practiced by amateurs in the profession of journalism rather than by well-trained audiovisual translators. The outcome of this study has accordingly demonstrated that Cameroon is still to choose and then promote its AVT mode. It is conclusive from this study that, the way forward in this sector lies with all the major stakeholders: the media, the Cameroon audience, the teachers, the learners and most importantly the government.

9. Recommendations

• The government should create or activate an AVT unit or sector and recruit AVT professionals to work at CRTV.

• The Cameroonian media should educate the public on the importance of AVT modes so that it should be more welcoming and receptive of subtitles dubbed or voiced over broadcast on TV. By carrying out this exercise, CRTV will eventually know which mode is most suited for the Cameroonian audience.

• The government should institute laws that advocate and promote the practice of AVT modes in the country, especially because the benefits of AVT are enourmous.

• More audiovisual Translators should be trained in the country.

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About Ayonghe Lum Suzanne

Ayonghe Lum Suzanne

Dr Ayonghe Lum Suzanne, Advanced School of Translators and Interpreters (ASTI), University of Buea, South West Region, Email: s_ayonghe@yahoo.com, ayonghelumsuzanne@gmail.com P.O. Box 109 Buea, South West Region, Cameroon. Tel: +237 77744862

Dr Ayonghe Lum Suzanne is a lecturer in the Advanced School of Translators and Interpreters (ASTI), University of Buea, and Head of Division I (Translation). She holds a BSc degree in Economics, an MA in Translation and a PhD in Language Practice. She currently teaches Audiovisual Translation and Computer Assisted Translation at the University of Buea. Her research interests include Audiovisual Translation, Computer Assisted Translation, Subtitling and its various uses for the promotion of bilingualism, multilingualism and the teaching/learning of national/indigenous languages.

 

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