"Cameroon is Bilingual, but Cameroonians are not Bilingual": The Importance of the Translation of "Nayang, Roi Bantou" in a Multilingual Country

Document Type

Honors Project


In this dissertation, I translated two excerpts of the memoir Nayang, Roi Bantou, written by the King of Batoufam, Cameroon and wrote a critical essay to accompany the translation. I argue in my essay that I chose to translate this book and these two chapters specifically because they show the coexistence of tradition and modernity that is happening in Batoufam. This is important for the whole world to know, and thus the translation of this book gives this essential information. The messages of the book serve as a case study that can be applied to other African cultures. I used my positionality as an American student who studied in Batoufam to take the opportunity to build a bridge between the Batoufam culture and the Western world by choosing specific methods that I saw as necessary. In the critical essay, after giving an in-depth examination of the situation of bilingualism in Cameroon due to its political history, and the role of translation in this, I say that this translation, and others like it in the future, can unify people coming from different linguistic groups by making the text accessible to more people. However, despite this, translation is not completely able to create full bilingualism in Cameroon.

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