Call for papers: Pan African conference on public service interpreting

PAMCIT is a network of five of Africa’s top universities offering Master’s programmes and doctoral study in conference interpretation and translation ( Their aim is to harness the high level of language proficiency that exists across Africa to respond to the strong demand for skilled language professionals worldwide. Since programme inception in the various partner universities, access for students to graduate in interpretation and translation has increased considerably. Over the past two years of funding operations, 188 students working with Arabic, English, French, Portuguese, Spanish, and Swahili have been supported by PAMCIT.

The Consortium is now turning its research efforts to Public Service Interpreting in general, and community interpreting and translating, particularly in the African region. The rationale for this is that a lot of communication happens in cross-cultural settings where people speak and gesture in different languages and need an interpreter to understand one another. Effective communication leads to understanding and thus, the need for a professional interpreter or translator; someone who identifies with the culture(s) and is able to effectively translate/interpret without omission or addition as a result of intercultural and/or cross-cultural communication obstacles. This is where PAMCIT comes in; liaising with higher learning institutions and professional interpreters and translators to train more experts in this field.

Envisaging translation and interpreting services as a right goes hand in hand with an exploration of active citizenship based on pro-active engagement at all levels of the education sectors – by public officials, by tertiary academics, principals and teachers (and their unions), by parents and communities. Within the cross-boundary frameworks of continental and intra-regional migration, social justice proponents view the services of an interpreter and/or translator as essential for ensuring service users are entitled to being heard and defended in a language they can understand.

The 2018 Pan African Conference aims to create more awareness and promote a better understanding of the realities of professional community interpreting. The harmonized message of the conference will be especially targeted to community institutions leaders and professionals, as well as aspiring and practicing language mediators. The various settings within which language mediation is to be explored include courts, hospitals, social workplaces, educational institutions, sign language communicators, incarceration institutions and others.


Thematic contributions from regional and international experts will include:

  1. Public service interpretation - use of local languages, sign language interpretation and community interpreting
  2. Training of conference interpreters
  3. Language mediation requirements of migration


Panel Members: Academics and researchers in the field of interpretation and translation, seasoned local and international sign language translators and interpreters, migrants, community interpretation trainers and professionals, translation and interpretation students and some community leaders.

Panel members will bring together papers from a range of disciplines, on topics such as: contemporary interactions between African immigrants in refugee camps, incarceration facilities, hospitals; performances of professionally trained community interpreters and translators in business meetings, etc; the role of educators and labor in renegotiating the definitions and methodology for training in community-based interpretation for the most vulnerable (e.g. Sign Language Interpretation). By shedding light on how human interaction happens in social settings, as opposed to conference halls and boardrooms and the implementation of policies made in these conference halls and boardrooms is made where the people are; in their communities, this panel shall offer a starting point for critically rethinking the contemporary state of African studies in the field of public service interpretation and translation.

The other aim for this event will be to get the attention and hopefully, support of potential African donors to keep the project going after 2019.  This will be taken into consideration when compiling the list of invitees.

If you would like to participate in our panel, please email the panel organizers a 350 word abstract by 30 April 2018. Include a short bio of yourself.


Please use the contact information below.


Panel Organizers:


Nina Okagbue

PAMCIT Coordinator

Tel : 254 20 76 27003 

Email :