Volunteer translators needed in 28 languages
Orphan’s Lullaby is more than a children’s book, it’s a language act of African unity.
The General Assembly this afternoon, recognizing that genuine multilingualism promotes unity in diversity and international understanding, proclaimed 2008 the International Year of Languages. Acting without a vote, the Assembly, also recognizing that the United Nations pursues multilingualism as a means of promoting, protecting and preserving diversity of languages and cultures globally, emphasized the paramount importance of the equality of the Organization’s six official languages (Arabic, Chinese, English, French, Russian and Spanish).
Originally I wrote a song with 21 lines called Orphan’s Lullaby, with the intention of turning it into a picture book and selling it to raise money for AIDS Orphans. So I began work on the pictures. My plan was to have each page with one line from the lullaby faced with a magnificent picture to inspire any child’s imagination; that would make 21 pictures and 21 text pages.
After the recent wave of Xenophobia, I thought since there is only one line of text per facing page, wouldn’t it be a wonderful statement of all-inclusiveness to have one book embracing fifty languages spoken in Africa — all the official languages as well as a representative selection of ‘un-official’ languages. Now each picture will be faced with fifty lines each a different colour and a different language.
My hope is that it could be sold everywhere as a celebration of Africa and that all the profits will go to orphans and also to help refugees and migrant workers in need.
The lullaby itself is certainly no great work of poetry, just a lullaby with good intentions. I’m looking for volunteer translators in 49 languages — the list of languages is below in alphabetical order and includes 8 of the world’s top 10 languages.
Ideally the selling price of the book should be as low as possible, so that as many children in Africa can afford to have it (I believe it will be a great tool for exposing children to the great variety of languages of our extraordinary continent.) As a very small token of gratitude I pledge to give each translator 5c of every copy sold, when the book is published.
After the first week of the project, thanks to Deborah Horn-Botha at SA PEN and PRAESA and the willingness of people at the South African AIDS Trust, I had 11 translators volunteer in the first week. Now Thanks to facebook, I’m discovering new volunteers every day. In particular Dr Michael Ambatchew in Ethiopia, Mwapi Mumbi in Zambia, Mahomed El Mongy in Egypt, Imogen Pretorius, Minnie Desaivre and Fred Hatman in South Africa have been incredibly helpful sending out the call for volunteers to their friends and colleagues around Africa.
The first to submit her translation of the lullaby was Puleng Letsie of the South African AIDS Trust, who translated it into Sotho.
If you are able to translate into any of the languages not yet accounted for below, and would like to volunteer, please email me at firstname.lastname@example.org. If you are willing to act as an editor for the lullaby in one of the languages, please email me too.
At the Cape Town Book Fair I met with the Chief of Marketing Sales and Licensing for the United Nations publications section. He was extremely interested in the project. He proposed doing an Orphan’s Lullaby collaboration with a South African publisher. So now I’m looking for a publisher.
LANGUAGES – NAME OF TRANSLATOR + BIO
Afrikaans – Two volunteers: Minnie Desaivre, language practitioner and Capetonian. Minnie loves anything that remotely resembles a word, and the infinite possibilities contained therein. Richard van der Westhuizen. Actor, singer and songwriter.
Akan- Steve Kumi/Nana
Amharic-Dr Michael Daniel Ambatchew is one of the leading contemporary Ethiopian children writers.
Arabic – Mahomed El Mongy and Yasmine El Rifai in Egypt. Najmeh Parvisi, student of languages at Tehran University, Iran.
Bambara- Victor Zugadi in Mali.
Chichewa- Nicholas Edward Tadeyo is 40 years old and works with the South African AIDS Trust, SAT Malawi as Finance Monitoring Officer. http://www.satregional.org/
English – Alex Smith
French- Andre Marshall and Eliane de Saint-Martin. Eliane teaches French at the Alliance Francaise and Andre does free-lance translation work (after teaching English at UCT).
Fula-Abd Hanne from Mali
German- Ulrike van Baarsel, almost author and great fan of anything written.
Gikuyu- Hannah Murage in Kenya
Greek- Anna Karafoulidou is studying law at the Aristotle University of Thessaloniki, Greece. She is currently finishing her exchange year in Germany. She is fluent in English, German, and French and also has a basic knowledge of Italian, Dutch and Spanish.
Hausa – Bashir Nuhu Mabai. He writes: “I am 40 Years old, from Kankara Local Government of Katsina State Nigeria. I hold a first degree in Education/ Hausa from Bayero University, Kano Nigeria. Master degree in Educational Planning, from Lagos State University 1997. I am currently working with Katsina State University as Principal Academic Planning Officer. I have worked as Journalist with Voice of Nigeria, Radio Tehran, Iran and also as lecturer in FCE Okene, Kogi State, Nigeria. Lagos State College of Education and Azad Islamic University Tehran, Iran. I am a web designer, Community Leader, Youth Movement for Self Reliance Advocacy leader (YMSRA), and Youth Against Child labour (YACL). Katsina, Nigeria. I am happily married with a four children.”
Hindi- Sherissa Roopnarain, student of political science at University of Cape Town, in collaboration with her grandmother from Kashmir.
Igbo- I am Ezeani Chigozie.I am a freelance translator, from Igbo ethnic group in Enugu, Nigeria.
Italian- Emilio Toffoli. Emilio was born above a trattoria, in the village of Roverbella, in the Northern province of Mantova. He moved to Africa (Kenya) in 1955, when he was just 18. He moved down to South Africa in 1968.
Kinyarwanda- Suzana Mukobwajana. Suzana lives in Rwanda and is a freelance editor of children literature.
Kirundi- Suzana mukobwajana. Suzana lives in Rwanda and is freelance editor of children literature.
Lingala – Jean Luc Mastaki Namegabe, PhD. Jean Luc is an Economic Affairs Officer for the United Nations Economic Commission for Africa(Uneca) in Lusaka, Zambia. Many, many thanks to Dr Michael Ambatchew in Ethiopia for facilitating contact with Jean Luc.
Malagasy- Juliana and Maiora
Mandarin Chinese- Simplified Chinese version by Chen Tian Mei, an Oral English champion and translator living in Shanghai. Yi Fen Kao has done a traditional Chinese character translation of the lullaby. Yi-Fen is a British Chevening scholar and majored in ‘eTourism’. After travelling to more than 20 countries, she has decided to share her experience with others. Now, she is a qualified Tour Leader in Mandarin, English and Japanese, and will receive her English Tour Guide licence soon. She works for a foundation in Taipei, Taiwan to promote youth travel and the ISIC card.
Masri – Mohamed El Mongy and Yasmine El Rifai who both live in Egypt.
Ndebele-Denise Mhlanga has also translated the lullaby in Zulu. Denise is a journalist at Moneyweb.
Oromo- Tesfaye Gebre-Mariam Hailu is an assistant professor in literature and the President of Writers for Ethiopian Children.
Polish – Karina Magdalena Szczurek is a writer and literary critic. Born in Poland, she grew up in Austria and the US. She now lives in Cape Town.
Portuguese- Maria Elisa Knust Silviera who holds a PhD in Applied Linguistics from the University of Southampton, School of Education, UK. She has recently retired from the Post-Graduation Department of the Instituto de Letras from Universidade Federal Fluminense, in Brazil and is currently teaching at the Foreign Language Project from the same university. Her main interests are in the areas of materials design, teacher education and ESP.
Shona-Tinashe Chimbidzikai is the Country Programme Officer- Orphans and other Vulnerable Children of the Southern African Aids Trust (SAT) www.satregional.org
Sotho-Puleng Letsie ,Coordinator of Country Support & Development at the Southern African AIDS Trust (SAT) www.satregional.org Puleng Letsie is a Public Health professional with 9 years of experience in the HIV & AIDS field in Southern Africa. She is single and has a 22-month old son – Lits’itso or Lebo and a younger sister. She loves travelling, going out with friends and writing – recently received a UNDP award from the 2007 Network Participation Fund representing the Africa region for her active participation in the HIV & AIDS Network – and has put together several articles and publications on various issues including HIV & AIDS and Behavioural Change Communication.
Spanish- Danielle Stevenson and Efrain Jaimes. Efraín Jaimes Villamil (born 1979) currently works as a journalist in Caracas, Venezuela, where he lives with his family. His top insterests are making friends around the globe and learning languages in order to help keep this multicultural world alive.
Swahili- Joshua Madumulla and Sara Petrolino.
Swazi- Sibusiso Dlamini was born on 20 June 1973 in Swaziland, Manzini. He is a father, husband and African. siSwati translation also by Happy Nkosi.”I’m Happy Nkosi, 26 years of age, currently working as a journalist for SABC NEWS in Mpumalanga.Have previously worked for Mpumalanga News weekly paper for two years, it is one of Caxton Newspapers. Mother of a nine year old boy, and I just think I was somehow made for the print media world. Sho!!!”
Venda- Mbavhalelo Elvis Nemukula is the Sowetan’s Senior Sub-editor; a former English literature teacher, Sub-editor of The Star; Sub-editor of The Mercury; Sub-editor at Mafube publishing; Sub-editor of City Press; and 2006 Clive Mennel Media Fellow at Duke University (USA).
Xhosa-Xolisa Guzula and Khosie Thom. Xolisa works for Praesa. Recently they have written a book called I am an African. It is a collection of stories by refugees, aimed at high school students.Khosie is currently doing a post graduate diploma in Journalism and Media Studies. She has a passion for informing people about the socio-economic and political status of South Africa and hopes to one day enrich the status of our country. She says, “I am an earnest born-again Christian and I love helping people out. God bless you have a splendid day!”
Yoruba- Titilope Fakoya
Zulu- 2 Translations: Denise Mhlanga and Nomahlubi Ngwenya are translating the lullaby into isiZulu. Busier than most sixty-year olds, Nomahlubi Ngwenya is enjoying living in the new South Africa. A writer and avid reader she raises two daughters and two grandchildren when she has time!