Danielle Stanford and Faculty Mentor: Daryl Lee, French and Italian
The goal of this project was to make an academic study on violence against women 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 violence done to women, published in a limited number of copies by GESTES and distributed only in Senegal, will benefit a wider swath of scholars in related fields working on Africa as well as other regions once translated into English. We have received authorization from Dr. Sall and WomanStats.org—an important scholarly clearinghouse on women’s studies—to have the translation published on that website when it is ready.
The GESTES study (whose title translates to Gender-based Violence in Senegal), published in 2014 in the group’s annual report called Rapport GESTES, is eight chapters and 145 pages long. We chose to focus our efforts first on chapter 7, titled Prevention as an Alternative to the Perils of Justice and Security, and move on to other chapters if we had time. We completed translation of this text, including the tables, graphs and image captions, from French to English. The English translation is 40 manuscript pages in length, excluding the tables and graphs. We did not complete translation of other chapters.
Two other students, Charlotte Coleman and Taylor Madsen, also worked on the translation; we therefore 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 2015, we translated the main body of the text. The three of us translators met on several occasions during this time to give one another feedback on translation of our respective sections. 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 June 2015. We are continuing contact with Dr. Sall at this time, and we hope to conclude coordination with her this month, and to submit the manuscript to WomanStats.org via Dr. Valerie Hudson, the website’s co-founder. Hudson is a former BYU anthropology professor (now at Texas A&M University) and one of the authors of Sex and World Peace. The manuscript is projected to be published to WomanStats sometime this fall or winter 2015.
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.