Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name

Master of Arts (MA)


College of Humanities and Social Sciences


Modern Languages and Literatures

Thesis Sponsor/Dissertation Chair/Project Chair

K. Loysen

Committee Member

E. Emery

Committee Member

L. Oppenheim


Fairtrade International, Translating and interpreting--Africa, French language--Translating, French-speaking West Africa, French-speaking Equatorial Africa


This thesis presents a case study of the challenges inherent in translating an internal document for Fairtrade International, a non-governmental organization, in order to explore questions related to the importance of the freedom of the translator with regard to linguistic and cultural concerns. Fairtrade International, an NGO based in Germany, defends the rights of children and farmers and fights for the well-being of the populations of underdeveloped countries involved in agriculture who would like to have the fair-trade label on their product. The document in question is a manual which presents in detail their standards and norms in order to serve as guide for the French-speaking representatives in African countries.

The Fairtrade manual was translated from English to French, a process that highlights different types of translations strategies required of a translator working with specialized legal and technical texts such as: treaties, partnership contracts, judgments, decrees, statutes, medical, engineering, user manuals, information technology, and computer hardware. Due to the technical aspect of these texts, the translator must have a certain level of expertise in order to render a faithful translation which will convey the same message from the source language (SL) into the target language (TL) for the intended recipients, in this case, farmers from African francophone countries who have partnered with Fairtrade. As such, any translator with limited knowledge in the field may be faced with challenges such as idiomatic expressions, field-related technical and legal expressions, and legal terminologies. Furthermore, the translator of these texts must be mindful of his or her limitations in the choice of words and expressions, unlike literary texts where the translator has more flexibility. Moreover, in literary translation, the translator is more inclined to be faithful to the initiator of the source text, contrary to the translator of a technical text who must be faithful to the initiator of the source text while also being mindful that the translation must be target-recipient-oriented. Because of a non-disclosure agreement signed with Fairtrade International, the English version of the ninety (90) pages in its final translation French translation of one hundred and sixteen (116) pages cannot be included with the bound thesis, but it was submitted to the department as part of the thesis process.

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