Translation: Special Edition in Honor of Pamela Smith

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Special Edition in Honor of Pamela Smith

Yoruba Studies Review


Call for Papers


As the contemporary world continues to move centripetally towards globalization, translation across languages becomes more important than ever. To this end, the 2021 Special Edition of Yoruba Studies Review will critically examine the­­ role of translation in the context of African society. The Special Edition will engage in discussions of translation, analyzing the process from oral to written traditions and from written to oral traditions. The primary aim of the edition is to reflect on the salient impacts of translation over time and across space. Simultaneously, the edition will offer space for examining the ways in which mistranslation occurs and its effects. This includes the challenges posed by culture-specific words along with the education and ethnicity/nationality of translators. Beyond the specific emphasis on the Yoruba, the overarching focus of the edition also considers the translation of works and documents from African to non-African languages and vice versa. This includes exploring official, literary, written, and non-written texts. Additionally, the edition will also explore the translation of languages that do not possess written scripts, to foreground their uniquely African background.

Scholars are invited to examine diverse aspects of the translation between and within communities. This includes tackling the conversations surrounding the relationships that African societies have to one another, for instance, the ways in which translating helps or hinders the promotion of knowledge. The edition will address core questions of how translation works in Africa and the world, its social and political roles, and the changes it has undergone over time. Further, the mechanics of language development, including the creation of lingua francas, pidgins, creoles, and dialects, will be analyzed in connection to the relationship that Africans have to their cultures and languages. The objective of these dialogues is to pluralize the narratives and showcase the nuances of language translation in Africa.

The special edition of YSR is in honor of Pamela Smith, retired Professor of English, Humanities and Women’s Studies at the University of Nebraska, Omaha, Nebraska. She has published several essays on translation and on Yorùbá language and literature. She is a celebrated translator of creative Yoruba works into English, including one of the five classic novels from the Yoruba iconic novelist, D. O. Fagunwa: The Forest of the Almighty: Being a Translation of D.O. Fagunwa’s Igbo Olodunmare from Yoruba into English.  Her other English translations from Yoruba include Adebayo Faleti’s Omo Olokun Esin (The Freedom Fight, 2010); and Akinwumi Isola’s Efunsetan Aniwura, Iyalode Ibadan and Olu Omo Tinuubu: Two Historical Plays (2006).  

We invite original essays on the following sub-themes, in addition to other ideas that contributors may have:

  • Oral tradition to written translation
  • Communication between neighboring communities
  • Translation across continents
  • History of translation in Africa
  • Impacts of mistranslation
  • Accidents of translation
  • Translation in international organizations
  • Documentation and translation
  • Political roles of translation
  • Translation within communities
  • Pan-African translation
  • Translation and localized/national ideologies
  • Translation and mass communication
  • Translation of non-script languages
  • Lingua franca across regions
  • Pidgin languages in Africa and the world
  • Dialectics of translations
  • Economics of translation
  • Iconic words of translation
  • African translators
  • Trade and translation
  • Translation and African indigenous knowledges
  • Translation and African language attitude / Translation and attitudes to African languages
  • Onomastics and translation
  • Contributions of Pamela Smith as a translator


Essays must be submitted by October 30, 2020 to be considered for this edition. Contributors must also follow the guidelines of YSR. 



Categories: CFP