While many African languages exist, publishing in local languages is almost inexistent because of the inherited dominance of colonial languages. However, some publishing houses publish in local languages and by doing so reach an often isolated readership. To preserve texts, promote authors, and widely circulate ideas, some publishers wished to meet to facilitate a flow of translations from one African language to another, to develop bilingual or trilingual co-publishing projects – representatives of Africa’s linguistic diversity.
How can we implement these projects? How can new technologies enable them? From an inventory of publishing practices in national and local languages, carried out by participants especially for this workshop, publishers will propose collective editorial projects that could be implemented in the years to come with the support of the Alliance, amongst others. The creation of an African language book fair will also be at the heart of discussions: this fair could represent the next meeting opportunity for public authorities and lead to measures that promote learning and publishing in national languages.
Through sharing experiences amongst eight African publishers and input from various participants, the workshop’s issues include:
* raising public authorities’ awareness on the development of learning in national languages;
* drafting practical proposals addressed to organisations working for the advancement of local languages;
* formulating recommendations addressed to book professionals and advocating for the creation of a local languages book fair and the development of African language publishing projects.
This workshop is supported by the Swiss Agency for Development and Cooperation (SDC).