Anda di halaman 1dari 9

Sudanese interpreters

An article taken from a Phd research by Dr. Hisham Khogali1. The professional Sudanese interpreters working inside or outside the Sudan, few as they are, are either self-trained or have received their academic training abroad. Some of them have received on the job training by other senior colleagues. One of the major venues for such training is the Friendship all in !hartoum. owever, this kind of training lacks

many aspects in terms of methodology as it depends on pushing beginners with no formal training into the booth in cases of emergency when the need for interpreters arise. Those beginners work on two bases" trial and error and supervision of senior colleagues which may or may not be systematic. #n this article an attempt is made to trace and document the work of early and pioneer interpreters in the Sudan. $s documented data in this area is rather rare, # had to resort to the memory of some people who could either remember valuable data in this regard, or referred me to people or institutions from where # managed to collect significant information. Such information indicates that there were Sudanese people who practiced interpreting occasionally, when the need arose. This might have taken place once or more, while,

The Feasibility Of #ntroducing &onference #nterpreting Teaching'Training #n Sudanese igher (ducation #nstitutions )ith Special (mphasis On The #slamic #nstitute For Translation* . The research was completed in +,%+. owever, it should be noted that most of the statistics mentioned in the article were collected in +,%, so some of them might have changed. isham !hogali is a senior $rabic interpreter at the -eneral Secretariat of the Organi.ation of #slamic &ooperation. e authored a te/t book on conference interpreting in +,,0. e also organi.ed a number of interpreter training courses at the O#& -eneral Secretariat. #n addition , he delivered a number of lectures on conference interpreting in the Sudan,

before the %12,s, it seems from available evidence, only one Sudanese used to work as full-time interpreter. One of the earliest references to someone who practiced interpreting 3certainly in its consecutive or liaison mode4 was contained in an article written by professor $bdul5ajeed $bur-6aheem, entitled 7Three Sudanese ascetic dawa makers7. $ccording to this article 8Shiekh 5uhammad $l-$min $l-9urashi8 was active in the field of dawah in -ibal $n-:uabh 3:ubah 5ountains4, with his supporters led by 5akkindah !arbous, one of the indigenous population of the region who worked as an interpreter for Shiekh 9urashi in appro/imately %1+++. One of the very important documentation of Sudanese people who practiced interpreting is provided by ;ashary 3;ashary"%11%-++<, ==<4, book Ruwad Al-Fikr Al-Sudani, is probably the best reference in this regard. is e

mentioned two early Sudanese interpreters. $ccording to ;ashery, $bdul >9adir ?kair $l-9uadi 3%1,+-%1@,4 was a prominent lecturer, writer and translator. #n %1=<, he provided AconsecutiveB interpretation of a series of lectures delivered by

Cr. Shamsuddin, an #ndian 5uslim, about #slam in (nglish. ;ashery says the most astonishing thing was that Cr. Shamsuddin references to Sayings of the Drophet 3Deace and Drayers be upon him4 were made in (nglish while ?kair would immediately give the original version of the Sayings in $rabic. owever, as Cr. Shamsuddin references to the

9ura8n were made only in $rabic and given that part of the audience did not speak $rabic, ?kair interpreted the meanings of the passages cited from the

oly 9ura8n into

$bdul-5ajeed $bur-6aheem "Ehttp"'''+,,1-,F-+%-%1-<,-%='+,,@-%,-,@-,1-0=-%0'@=%-

(nglish. ;ahsery commented that ?kair was on all lips in Dort Sudan where the lectures were delivered. $ccording to ;ashary ?kair also provided a 7simultaneous interpretation7 of the lecture 7delivered by Cr. Dlouse in the Thirties7 about the story of Swakin. #t is to be observed here that ;ashery8s references to ?kair were not accurate as he speaks about 7simultaneous interpretation7 which is highly unlikely to have taken place at such an early date in the Sudan as simultaneous interpretation eGuipment could not have been available. Therefore, it is Guite possible to claim that the mode of interpretation provided by ?kair could arguably be described in a more accurate manner as HconsecutiveI rather that HsimultaneousI interpreting. $nother Sudanese interpreter mentioned by ;ashery is 5uhammad $mir ;ashir , nicknamed HFourawiI, who became later on the Dermanent Secretary of the 5inistry of #nformation, post-independence 3;ashir"+,%,4. )e can observe that the word 7Fourawi7 in $rabic 3Sudanese dialect4 may have been derived from 7Fawr7 which means immediate or simultaneous. owever, it may have also been derived from the name of

the region of Car-Four. ;ahsery however, does not inform us whether this nickname was based on his ability to practice simultaneous interpreting. ;ashery also gives another piece of information of great value in documenting the history of the profession of conference interpreting in the Sudan 75uhammad $mir ;ashir was the first Sudanese simultaneous interpreter in our country7J7 the first Sudanese full-time

translator'interpreter7, indicating that he was the only Sudanese capable of translating and interpreting at the Kegislative $ssembly from %1<0 to %1<@. Cespite the fact that ;ashery

did not deny or establish it, it is not likely that Fourawi received any professional training in the field of conference interpreting. $lthough ;ashery does not indicate in his book that there was simultaneous interpreting eGuipment in the Sudan as early as %1<0, # was able to verify thorough interviews that such eGuipment was indeed available=. This is really astonishing if we take it against the background of the history of the invention and the formali.ation of the use conference interpreting eGuipment. Such information leads us to wonder about the reasons that led to the delay of the spread of the practice and training of conference interpreting in the Sudan. Other early Sudanese interpreters included" 7those who used to work with the ;ritish $dministrators or other officials, to do consecutive, during the meetings and other functions that the ;ritish attended with the nationals. This was a sort of a common job done by nationals7. 0 #n an article published by $l-)atan newspaper, ouida $l-Shawouia 3+,,14, indicates

that during the ;ritish rule, those who provided simultaneous interpretation in the Kegislative $ssembly, were graduates of intermediate schools. Thus, it is Guite possible that the establishment of the Kegislative $ssembly 3the Darliament after the #ndependence4 paved the way for the introduction, for the first time, of conference

$s part my Dh. C research entitled LThe Feasibility Of #ntroducing &onference #nterpreting Teaching'Training #n igher (ducation #nstitutions )ith Special (mphasis On The #slamic #nstitute For Translation*, #


interviewed one the best known pioneer Sudanese #nterpreters , 5uhammad ;ashir, who is also a retired ?: interpreter. 5r. ;ashir confirmed that ;ashery was offering simultaneous interpretation.


interpreting eGuipment which made it possible to provide conference interpreting services making the Sudan a pioneer country in the region in this field. owever, this lead taken

by the Sudan was not enhanced by sustainable development of this sector neither at the professional level nor at the educational level. From the %1<,s8 first generation of conference interpreters, there seems to be a noticeable lack of interest accorded by the -overnment and the private sector to the promotion of this sector. Some other information published on Sudanese-online, posted by $l-$meen, $. indicate that (duard $ttiah, the #ntelligence Service &hief during the ;ritish colonial era, and Mamal 5uhammad $hmad, former Sudanese Foreign 5inister worked as interpreters for the Kegislative $ssembly 3http"'''cgibin'sdb'+bb.cgiN

seGOmsgPboardO+,,PmsgO%+0=0F+++%4. The information on Mamal 5uhammad $hmad was ambiguously confirmed by $bu -arja, 5akki http"''www.nubian-'vb'archive'inde/.php't-%0@.html4 as the word he used in $rabic mutarjimLtranslator* was not accurate enough to leave no room for doubt that he was HinterpreterI rather than 8translator8. 5ore recently, a survey conducted by the author indicates that ashim, $l-Seed, former

interpreter at the defunct Organi.ation of $frican ?nity 3now the $frican ?nion4 is probably the first Sudanese ever to study conference interpreting. e graduated in the late %1F,s or early %12,s from the (S#T 3(cole Superieure d8#nterpretes et de Traducteurs4, Daris, France.<

#nterview with Othman $l-Malal "+,%,. Othman is another pioneer Daris-based Sudanese interpreter who was all to France to receive professional training in interpreting.

among the group of translators sent by the Friendship

$ccording to the available information, it was only in %12= when the &hinese -overnment constructed one of $frica8s largest conference facilities, the Friendship all, that official attention was directed to this vital sector. $ conference interpretation division was established. Kocal translators were recruited some of whom were sent abroad 3France or Spain4 to receive professional training in conference interpreting. This move resulted in the first group of professional interpreters most of whom did not remain in the Sudan as they preferred to work abroad where they stood better chances of employment with higher incentives. Furthermore, this move should have been coupled with another step toward the institutionali.ation of conference interpreting teaching and training, a step never taken so far in the Sudan despite its obvious importance. #n the late %1@,s, the Sudanese 5inistry of Foreign $ffairs had plans to establish a Translation and #nterpretation ?nit. The researcher and Othman $l-Malal were approached by government officials in this regard. 3#bid4. $##&Fmembership of Sudan-based conference interpreters is statistically significant and could furnish a good indication to the scarcity of Sudanese interpreters. #ndeed, the Sudan does not even appear in the list of countries where $##& members are based. This means that there are no $##& members living in the Sudan. owever, it cannot be owever, the plan to do so Llike many bright ideas, was shelved*

considered as a measure of absence of Gualified conference interpreters in the Sudan as not all professional interpreters living in the Sudan seek $##& membership, and indeed
e later served as a lecturer in interpreter at KI(S#T.

#nternational $ssociation of &onference #nterpreters.

there are some Gualified conference interpreters in the Sudan who are not $##& members. Furthermore, we have to take the picture against the background that $##& list of members shows the distribution of interpreters according to their place of residence and not according to their nationalities. For e/ample a Sudanese interpreter, member of $##&, residing in Meddah, Saudi $rabia, will not appear in the list under the Sudan but under Saudi $rabia. $nother indication to the scarcity of Sudanese interpreters could be drawn from the level of participation on free-lance basis of Sudanese interpreters in conferences organi.ed by international or regional organi.ations , as well as other international conferences both inside and outside the Sudan, The following comparison corroborates this statement. The author preferred to use the following e/ample because he was in charge of recruiting the interpreters reGuired for this conference. e made sure that the selection was not made on nepotism basis, as

could be claimed in other cases. The main criteria for the selection of interpreters were professionalism. 3This does not e/clude other criteria such as interpreters8 linguistic combinations and interpreters8 availability for the conference under review4. The number of Sudanese interpreters who participated in this conference 3living inside or outside the Sudan4 did not e/ceed one interpreter while the number of interpreters coming from neighboring (gypt stood at %%, and form Senegal, another $frican country, the number was seven.

Absence of conference interpreting training/teaching programs in Sudanese educational institutions.

6eview of the educational institutions based in the city of !hartoum, which offer programs or courses in language and'or translation, revealed that there were no

educational institutions speciali.ed in conference interpreting, in !hartoum and by e/tension in the Sudan. &ompared with other countries which have two official languages, such as &anada which has a very successful record of conference interpreting education and one of the highest rate of $##& members 3%%@ members4, and &ameroun

which has The $dvanced School of Translators and #nterpreters at the ?niversity of ;uea and the rate of @ $##& members , Sudan is lagging far behind with the complete absence not only of conference interpreting schools but also conference interpreting programs as will be shown hereunder 36eview of Sudanese institutions offering languages and translation courses4. ;efore # conclude this article # thought it would be fitting to mention some remarkable efforts which have e/erted informally by some Sudanese interpreters to train junior colleagues or new graduates. The %1@,s and %11,s have been marked by efforts e/erted by two pioneer interpreters working for the Friendship all in !hartoum, namely Salwa $krat and 5uhmmad $. !halil. Their work went unnoticed by many observers in the field. owever, they made a remarkable contribution to the on the job training conducted in the Friendship all. # myself feel indebted for both of them. The first decade and a half of this century saw similar efforts e/erted by Cr. assn $li (ssa 3 ead of Translation and $rabai.ation ?nit +,,, > +,%+4. $ more detailed study can to more justice to reveal the credit of those three Sudanese interpreters who facilitated interpreter training in the Sudan on an unofficial level as mentioned above.