Africa Film WebMeeting

Message from: (
About: African Screen

Thu, 24 Jul 1997 16:17:30 +0100

Originally from: "Secretariat general" <>
Originally dated: Thu, 24 Jul 1997 16:17:30 +0100

Dear Steve Smith

I am one of the readers of the African cinema conference, and I have
just seen your message sent on Wed, 23 July about translation in the
film magazine Ecrans d'Afrique, and I want to make some comments.
You did state that : "As someone that doesn't speak French, I'm not
renewing my subscription. I find the English in the magazine a lot like
the English above and too hard to make sense of ".

Mr. Smith, I guess your mother tongue is English. That's good. You do
not speak French and that's your limitation. Maybe, the translators of
Ecrans D'Afrique are French speaking people. But they are managing to
give some information about African cinema to you, a distributor of
African film, and owner of the African cinema conference, in your mother
tongue. I think we must help ourselves especially when others are trying
to help us.

Perhaps, you believe that everyone is sharing your views. I hope you are
making a mistake!

I also think that one cannot be serious about the development of African
cinema and refuse to read the only magazine on the continent, which is
run by the African filmmakers themselves, on the argument that the
English is not up to one's standard.

I also know that the British, the Americans, the Australians, the
Canadians, the Nigerians only to name only those ones have different
standards of English, but when it comes to communication, I don't think
that responsible people waste their time disparaging each others and
urging the rest of the world to reject those who do not speak as they

Mr. Smith, I hope that your involvement in the African cinema is not out
of purely mercantile aims, inconsiderate of what harm you may do to us.
In case it is not, please enable us to express ourselves, even if you
think that our English is not good enough as yours.
I hope my English is not too difficult to make sense of, and that you
have grasped my message to you.

Francoise Kabore
OK OK, I'm sorry I implied anything negative about Africa Screen. It is a
wonderful magazine filling a great need....

My point is that the magazine could use better translation to English for us
non-French speakers. I think that point is valid. Sending out a
promotional piece like they did was not good marketing. Hopefully the
editors and those like Mr Kabore above will hear and work to improve the
English translations. If that is an outcome of this, I'll be happy, and it
will be worth the bombardment I'm taking.

Let me assure all that my involvement is not mercantile. I do not earn
money from any involvement with African cinema - in fact, quite the
opposite. My Toshiba and export computer business subsidizes our African
cinema work quite a large amount every year. We have distributed over
17,000 African social message videos and films over the last dozen years.
Our income from sales has been significantly less than costs every year.
With this listserver, I donate 20-40 minutes a day of my time doing the
administrative work with new subscribers, gathering and editing, etc.

Interesting how this has kicked up so much dust. Glad in one sense to see
that so many of the 150 of us are active readers...

I have promoted the magazine in the past many times, and will continue to
post it's contact address and subscription information regularly. I do this
all for free, of course.

regards, Steve Smith

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