Global Voices in French: Translators’ Choice 2011

This post is part of our special coverage 2011 on Global Voices.

With now more than 500 volunteer authors and translators, Global Voices is a unique global media network that keeps track of current events via social media conversation. Global Voices in French [fr] is one of the 20-plus sites of the Lingua translation project, and one of the most read Global Voices Lingua websites.

Since early 2007, when the French site launched, nearly 200 volunteers [fr] have translated or continue to translate articles and posts from various languages into French, every day. Our “family” lives on every continent: Francophonia is truly worldwide!

Global Voices French logo

Global Voices French logo

In 2011, French-speaking translators carried out the challenging task of covering the many historic revolutions and uprisings throughout the world for the Francophone world by translating hundreds of blogsposts (with our co-editor, our Suzanne Lehn, on the front line!).

But, like our friends the Spanish translators at Global Voices in Spanish [es], when we asked volunteers what translations struck them most in 2011, “The Arab Spring” was not their automatic response. (Global Voices has been following and translating bloggers from the Arab world since 2004.)

Our translators’ picks for 2011 demonstrate how much they approve of the Global Voices philosophy: shining light on countries, places, people, ignored by traditional media (for now, at least).


From left to right, upper row: Samantha, Abdoulaye, Fabienne, Ange, Lou. Lower row: François-Xavier, Noële, Gaël, Thalia, Stéphanie. Greetings and thanks to everyone involved!

Abdoulaye Bah, a Guinean United Nations retiree living in Rome, naturally pays particular attention to Africa:

I really liked translating the post about the mayoral opposition win in Mozambique. That victory teaches how it's possible to win elections in an African country, without fraud by those in power and without spending large sums of money.

Noële Belluard-Blondel, a professional translator living in France, was the first to refuse to choose only one translation:

My last translation in 2011 made me daydream…. ‘USA: Has NASA Discovered a Life-Friendly Planet?‘ I love astronomy, and space travel fascinates me. These are today's exploratory expeditions, and we're only at the beginning. I find that fascinating, gripping! I must say two other subjects struck me: ‘Bangladesh: A Bold Protest Against Dowry.’ The courage of some women makes you wonder. It made me wonder. And China: ‘Do You Have Memories From Before You Were Kidnapped?‘ In this case, I was moved by the life of these women. A disturbing topic, deeply moving.

Fabienne Der Hagopian, who lives in Normandy, makes it a principle to translate what she most likes to read:

There is a lively diversity in our tastes and interests, which means that almost all the posts published in Global Voices in English get translated into French. In 2011, the posts that most struck me were those concerning the women of Yemen and their courage, such as this one on revolutionary women. It's sad that the traditional media don't talk about this more. It reminds me of [French singer] Daniel Balavoine's song, ‘Revolucion.’

Teacher Ange Pambou‘s pick illustrates the diversity of topics covered by Global Voices:

For 2011, my favorites are: the blogpost about the “Bidun” in Koweit (I was unaware of both the term and the phenomenon), another on homosexuality in Ghana (which, in addition to demonstrating the difficulties of being homosexual in Africa, deconstructs rather methodically the arguments generally advanced against homosexuality), the letter by a young Chinese woman to the Norwegian killer after the massacres in Norway, the gripping testimony of a “nuclear gypsy” in the wake of the Fukushima disaster, a post about the prohibition of water fights in Tehran last summer, and finally, — without a doubt, my favorite among favorites — an astonishing post about the daily life of a blind person who happens also to be a film critic.

Stéphanie Camus, who runs an e-commerce site, takes the time to “listen to the world” by translating:

I think it was my translation of the anniversary of the Sabra and Chatila massacre that had the greatest impact on me. I had just watched the film, ‘Waltz with Bashir.’ The full meaning of “We must never forget,” becomes clear when one observes such an event, I find. It's the account of a horrific episode in a long war that symbolises, in my view, the horror and absurdity of all armed conflicts, whatever form it takes…

Lou F., currently studying in the United Kingdom, is a fan of world languages and met interesting people while translating:

In 2011, I loved translating the profile of Julie Kertesz, because she is one of those people one would like to come across more often: passionate, active, and above all, very human. I also really liked the article on the Welsh-language blogosphere. Global Voices allows us to discover voices from throughout the world, and I think it's great that regional languages are now joining the international choir!

Samy Boutayeb, our specialist on net freedom and the free software culture, refuses to choose:

As far as I'm concerned, it's impossible to make a choice, because I loved not only reading but also translating *all* the posts I translated.

Tahlia Rahme, who works for the Global Road Safety Partnership with the International Federation of the Red Cross in Beirut, Lebanon, is addicted to our short “updates”:

Once I got started translating those, I found it difficult to stop. This year I tried to translate every update about the Middle East. I considered it my duty somehow to familiarize the rest of the world, especially the French-speaking world, with the Middle East and its news, and above all to help change its image and the prejudices attached to it.

François-Xavier Ada Afana is a young, enthusiastic translator from Cameroon who is studying in Cyprus:

The post I most enjoyed reading and translating, by far, was the one about Independence Day in Tanzania: A good overview of the situation in the country.

Gaël Brassac lives in South-East France but will soon move to Japan, and opted to go with a “Top 3″ format:

1. ‘Global: Bloggers Take Issue With Anti-Niqaab Punditry,’ because this article is a model of sort to expose ethnocentric self-righteousness, feminist extremism, and religious intolerance. 2. ‘China: Reflecting on 100 Years Since the Xinhai Revolution,’ because I love history and China, so putting the two together could only please me! 3. ‘Mozambique: Behind the Detention of MC Azagaia,’ because this is the kind of articles that makes me love Global Voices, covering countries never talked about in the traditional media.

Samantha Deman began translating for Global Voices while she was living in Singapore and offers a nice panoramic view of her years with Global Voices.

I choose my very first translation, published in 2008: ‘Humanitarian Crisis in South Philippines,’ simply because it represents the beginning of my adventure with Global Voices. I like the idea of being able to inform others about what's happening in the remotest, often forgotten locales, thus helping weave ties between people living in the four corners of the world.

This post is part of our special coverage 2011 on Global Voices.

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