Future Directions

There are many possibilities for future research highlighted in this volume, which, together with other published studies in the field, has identified numerous gaps. Given the size of the continent of Africa and its multilingual nature, researchers are faced with a smorgasbord of topics, rather than having to identify a new angle or niche. First, there is an urgent need to develop an African theory of literature, and to develop and refine theories of literary translation in the African context. Talento points to the lack of literary translation historiographies, for example, and the need to build theory, countering the current Eurocentricity existing in the field. Meintjes’ and Fotheringham’s chapters reveal that current gaps in African theories compel African researchers to rely on theories developed in the European context. Inggs’s chapter on YA literature transferred across continents and Wehrmeyer’s model of linguistic-cultural constellations attempt to build such theoretical bridges and provide springboards for further theory development. Second, there is a need for systemic exploration and comparison of both original and translated literature from the different regions of the continent, both in terms of the uniquely African art of original production intrinsically linked to translation of the oral repertoire, as outlined in Bandia’s and Akwanya’s chapters, and in terms of how translators tackle the challenges of indigenous writing and hybridisation, with Zarandona’s and Cachucho’s chapters providing frameworks for similar studies across the continent. Similarly, Nokele’s chapter calls for further research into, and awareness of, different cultural worldviews. Reception studies provide a third avenue of much needed research. Inggs’s and Zarandona’s chapters introduce many opportunities for research into how African literature is represented and repackaged for the European market, while Anguiano Pérez’s chapter on West African theatre in Cuba opens up possibilities for studying the translation and circulation of African literature into Spanish for the South American market. Fourth, sociological studies of translations and agents involved in translation processes, such as in Feinauer and Louren’s chapter for South African literary works, and Awung’s chapter for a Cameroonian work, have barely been touched upon in an African context, and could prove to be an extremely fruitful area of research in the future.

We hope that this volume will inspire further research in literary translation in the African context.


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