Danielle Stanford and Daryl Lee, French and Italian
The goal of this project was to make an academic study on women’s property rights in Senegal accessible to a non-French speaking audience. The study was conducted by a university research group on gender issues (GESTES) at the Université Gaston Berger, Saint Louis, Senegal. I worked as part of a team of three translators, rendering it from French into English. GESTES (in English: “Gender and Society Research and Study Group”) is coordinated by Dr. Fatou Diop Sall, a professor at the Université Gaston Berger. Dr Sall’s group study on property rights of women, published in a limited number of copies by GESTES and distributed only in Senegal, will be of benefit to a wider swath of scholars in related fields working on Africa as well as other regions. After receiving authorization from Dr. Sall and WomanStats.org—an important scholarly clearinghouse on women’s studies—we had it published on that website upon completion of the translation.
The GESTES study, whose title translates to Women’s Right and Access to Property: A Citizenship to Conquer, was published in 2010 in Rapport GESTES, the group’s annual report. We translated this text, including the tables, graphs and image captions, from French to English. The English translation was approximately 20 manuscript pages. Two other students, Charlotte Coleman and Taylor Madsen, also helped to translate, so we divided the study into three parts. Coleman was in charge of reproducing in English the graphs and tables shown in the document, as well as translation of some text. We were in contact with our faculty mentor, Dr. Daryl Lee, and also with Dr. Sall, co-author of the paper herself, to confirm that the translation correctly reflected the meaning of the original paper.
From January to April 2014, we translated the main body of the text. The three of us translators met once a week to give one another feedback on translation of our respective sections. We met with Dr. Lee about once a week as well to discuss the progress of the translation. Maintaining regular contact with Dr. Sall was more difficult than anticipated but in the end we feel we suitably learned and applied her input. Editing and graphic formatting of the document was done in April 2014. We continued and concluded coordination with Dr. Sall and Valerie Hudson during this month, and submitted the manuscript to WomanStats via Hudson.
The manuscript was projected to be published to WomanStats sometime during the summer, but it was on October 9 that we finally received notification from a WomanStats Senior Research Associate that one of their coders had added all of the information on Senegal from our ORCA grant project.
Former BYU anthropology professor—and one of the authors of Sex and World Peace—Dr. Valerie Hudson (now at Texas A&M University), had expressed interest in publishing this article onto her widely recognized website, WomanStats, once it was translated into English, and she followed through on that assertion. You can now find the text as well as the statistics from the Senegal study on WomanStats.org. Below is a list of the variables under which our data can be found in their database:
The website we chose is “the most comprehensive compilation of information on the status of women in the world” (source: WomanStats.org). WomanStats gathers information and breaks it down into individual data points, according to country, by more than 300 variables. It is therefore especially useful to those doing meta-analysis of how women live around the world. The data on WomanStats “has now been requested by the UN, the Defense Department, the Central Intelligence Agency, and the World Bank. More specifically, [their] data and research were also used by the Senate Foreign Relations Committee in crafting the International Violence Against Women’s Act” (WomanStats Project Blog). Therefore, the research done by GESTES regarding women’s access to property in Senegal will be used for much good now that we have translated it into English and published it where we did.
Swanee Hunt, founding director of Harvard University’s Women and Public Policy Program, wrote that “the WomanStats Database is an indispensable aid to researchers, policymakers, and advocates involved in women’s security.” With this powerful partnership, our translation project will give the findings in this study much more exposure around the globe.