Southern African Linguistics and Applied Language Studies

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Multilingual and multimodal mediation in one university module: The people and processes involved

Charlyn Dyers, Bassey E. Antia


At the core of using languages other than English in higher education in South Africa lies the processes of translation/mediation and the mediators themselves. Within the framework of the descriptive theory of translation, this paper offers a critical consideration of the people and processes at the heart of one such project at the University of the Western Cape, South Africa: the mediators who must either translate lecture material or lend their voices to the aural versions of such materials. The paper shows the processes involved in translating part of a lecture in English into varieties of Afrikaans and isiXhosa, and making these available in both reading and listening format. In addition, the paper examines interview responses of five of the mediators involved in the project, as well as some student responses to the material. Apart from showing the interdependence between the different stages of mediation in this project, we concluded that discipline-specific mediation is best done by subject specialists themselves. The findings also showed that most students felt that the informal, localised translations in the oral format offered the greatest epistemological access to the course content.
AJOL African Journals Online