Thursday, December 18, 2014

Ebola materials in Temne (Temen, Themine, Themne, Timene, Timini, Timne, Timmannee)

Temne translation by TWB.
Source: International SOS.

A posting on this blog in September featured an ebola message in several languages of Sierra Leone, but not Temne, which is widely used mainly in the north of the country (over a million speakers). Here I'll highlight some ebola materials in Temne (with notes about the name of the language at the end).

First is a translation of the the widely translated and circulated ebola poster by International SOS (on right). This was dated October 7, and done by Translators Without Borders (TWB, which also was involved in producing Mende and Krio versions of the poster).

TWB also helped Humanitarian Response with production of Temne versions of "Social Mobilisation Key Messages" and "Messages for children and caregivers on Ebola - Child Protection and Education."

Other material I'm aware of is audio, beginning with Temne versions of the CDC's radio spots. These recordings - which now are in 17 African languages or varieties of those languages (aside from English and French versions) - have been mentioned several times previously on this blog. It is worth recalling that these audio spots are not accompanied by text version in these languages, and there is no information about the approach(es) taken to producing the translations.

Scientific Animations Without Borders (SAWBO) has produced an animation on ebola, and one of the voice-overs is in Temne. SAWBO's products are available in formats for viewing on cell phones and computer (though there do not appear to be text versions / scripts available).

I am not aware of any material on ebola developed directly in Temne (written or recorded), although on the levels of national or community radio there may have been some significant use of the language in messaging.

What's in a spelling?

A quick comment on nomenclature. The name for the language is rendered in quite a few variant spellings (perhaps including some misspellings), several of which I've listed in the title. These have been observed on the web and/or taken from Ethnologue. Such variation in spelling can't help in managing information in the language. This is not problem unique to Temne (I discussed it in another posting), but seems to be a bit extreme in this case.

The most widely used spellings in English seem to be "Temne" and "Themne," although I remember hearing the language called "Timini" by a native speaker some time ago (the name in the language itself is apparently "Themnɛ"). Would it be possible to settle on one or two spellings that all organizations working in/with this language would use to refer to it?

No comments: