Monday, October 25, 2010

Chickens and ducks and...

Chickens and ducks and …

Language is a barrier that can have serious implications when it comes to knowledge sharing. This is an issue that has been at the center of many discussions at the AgKnowledge Africa Share Fair hosted by the International Livestock Research Institute (ILRI) in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia.

In her blog post covering the Training and Sharing Day at this event, Camille De Stoop writes about meeting her brother duck – in French. On her ShareFair name tag is a picture of a duck, and during an ice-breaking session she was instructed to find another “duck participant”, which she did: a man from Niger.

Her brother duck was having problems with the language. “Everything is in English,” he said, “the panel discussions, the presentations, and many of the publications.” Another participant from Sénégal was having similar difficulties; while a participant from Kenya pointed out that his mother tongue is Swahili.

Similar problems exit elsewhere. In his blog post “Language still key to effective knowledge sharing”, Andrew Clappison (CommsConsult) wonders what percentage of research for development issues is translated into other languages. His conclusion? Very little.

Read his post to find out what Dr Emmanuel Chabata, from the University of Zimbabwe, had to say in a video interview about his work, which seeks to build capacity in this area and help domesticate knowledge through its translation into local languages.

This is an issue that we discuss also in the third A of our our AAA framework… how applicable is your research if it cannot be read or understood?

Read the full post on the ICT-KM blog

Picture courtesy Shot from the Hip

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