Research Key

The Impact of French to English Translated Billboards on ESL Learners in Cameroon

Project Details

Project ID
International: $20
No of pages
Qualitative research
Analytical tool
Descriptive statistics
 MS word & PDF

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This study investigates the impact of the translation from French to English on the ESL learner or speaker. The problem of our work is that the translation from French to English is not always done the proper way due to lack of expertise or knowledge of the target language and the objectives will be to determine the origin of the mistakes made by the ESL learners or speakers during the translation process, to investigate on the specific and systematic mistakes made by the ESL learners or speakers during the translation process and to investigate on the impact of the context on the ESL learner or speaker during the translation from his source to his target language. The hypotheses were that the translation from the source language to the target language is not well done most of the time by the ESL learners or speakers, that English is given less attention as compared to French in Cameroon, and that the French language especially in the context of Cameroon influences the way the ESL learner or speaker translate and in order to verify these hypotheses we made use of two methodologies that are snapshots on billboards in the town of Douala and table analysis and the following findings were made during the study: during the translation from French to English mistakes are made at the semantic, syntactic, morphological, and lexical level. French-speaking Cameroonians face difficulties to pass across a message into their target language English most of the time and make use of the English language only when they feel obliged to thus showing how Cameroon is not really a bilingual country. And it was thus recommended that there should be more promotion of the English language in the part of the country where the language is not widely spoken and more promotion of the French language where the English are not widely spoken. We believe that school creation is not enough to promote bilingualism in our country and the need for future research in Cameroon to focus on language performance and competence as a tool of successful professional life and also the creation of more translation schools to promote efficiency in language speaking in our country.





Our research report, the impact of French to English translated billboards on ESI learners in Cameroon will focus on how conveying a message from a source to a target language can affect the way a second language learner in the target language passes his message across. In our work, we will pay attention to the case of French translated into English by ESL learners or speakers in the case of Cameroon. Our work will be structured in five chapters starting with chapter one a general introduction continuing with a chapter two literary” review and theoretical framework than a chapter three methodology and chapter four a data presentation and analysis and finally a chapter five that is conclusion and recommendation. This general introduction will have to do with the background to the problem, the statement of the problem, the objectives of the study, the hypothesis of the study, research methodology, delimitation of the scope, structure of the work, and a conclusion.

Background to the problem

Cameroon is a country lying at the junction of western and central Africa. Like most African nations, it is a creation of the 19th century, there was considerable activity in Cameroon by British and American missionaries, but a German connection began in 1868 when the Woermann Company of Hamburg built a warehouse on the estuary of the Wouri River. Since then the interest of Germany towards Cameroon kept increasing and in 1884, Germany acquired the country at the berlin conference when European imperial powers met to partition Africa which eventually led to a decision of Germany to establish a German empire in Cameroon.

In consequence, Gustav Nachtigal arrived in Cameroon that same year to negotiate and sign treaties with the kings of Douala, Bimbia, and Batanga thus declaring Kamerun a German protectorate. When World War 1 broke out in 1914, aligning British, French, and Belgian troops against Germany, Germany was defeated and Cameroon was divided between British and France. The British and French thereafter established a joint administration of the territory [condominium], for a few months and then partitioned it. The British took the smaller share consisting of two thin strips on the eastern border of Nigeria these two regions became known as British Cameroons. On the other side, the western areas ceded in 1911 were returned to French equatorial Africa and the remaining central territory became a new French mandate colony to be known as French Cameroon. Cameroonians were henceforth subjected to two other types of colonial experiences with new’ attitudes and cultures.

French Cameroon enjoyed more rapid economic and political development than British Cameroons and it felt the effects of the independence movements sweeping through the continent after World War II as a result, French Cameroon became independent on the 1st January 1960. Meanwhile, the question remained as to the future of the British Cameroons whether they should be merged with Nigeria or with the already independent French Cameroon. The question was put to a plebiscite and the northern region chose to join Nigeria and the southern than on the 11th of February 1960. British Cameroons voted union with French Cameroon through a referendum. The association between the two entities was consolidated on the 1st of October 1961 through the reunification of British and French Cameroons. The reunification came with the adoption of English and French as official languages. As a result, the two languages were given equal status. But Echu [2003.39] observes that even though they are considered to be equal status, French has a defacto dominance over English in the area administration. Sharing the same point of view, Idriss et al [2010.28] said that ” French is a career language of employment in government and civil service”.

Statement of the problem

Since Cameroon is a bilingual country where French and English are the co-official languages, the translation from one language to the other is not always an easy task because of the context of translation because, Within the context of Cameroon, the Anglophone culture is generally considered as a subordinate culture by francophone culture since culture is also reflected through the language, this negative attitude is also reflected in the language which in its turn influences the usage of English by ESL learners or speakers during the translation process. In French-speaking Cameroon, English is generally perceived as a school subject which explains why it is given less attention outside the field of education especially in business places and in most government offices.

Objectives of the study

The aims of this study are

-To determine the origin of the mistakes made by the ESL learner or speaker during the translation process

-To investigate the specific and systematic nature of the mistakes made by the ESL learners or speakers.

-To investigate on the impact of the context on the ESL learner or speaker during the translation from his source to his target language.

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