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Conference Paper

Hitting the end of the road? Translation as part of learning for life among Senegalese transnationals


Heil,  Tilmann
Socio-Cultural Diversity, MPI for the Study of Religious and Ethnic Diversity, Max Planck Society;

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Heil, T. (2019). Hitting the end of the road? Translation as part of learning for life among Senegalese transnationals. In The End of Negotiations? GAA Conference.

Cite as: http://hdl.handle.net/21.11116/0000-0006-D796-E
In this paper I draw conceptual conclusions from the translation practices of Senegalese in three field sites (Senegal, Spain, Brazil). Non-translatability is hardly admitted since it would mean to acknowledge failure in migration defined as the university of mobile life. --Since starting fieldwork twelve years ago within the networks of Senegalese at home and abroad, migrations during which they went, among others, into very different contexts such as Spain and Brazil, translation both in the literal and conceptual sense has been part of my conceptual apparatus in order to address their practices of tackling differences encountered and their explanations given to me. Mostly practicing believers, Sufi Muslims or Catholics, often from the Senegalese hinterland and going through rough living and working conditions in crisis-ridden Spain and Brazil, non-translatable en-counters are easy to imagine, especially regarding ethical concerns of a good life and proper be-haviour. I explore to what extent such limits to translation are admitted or eternally pushed fur-ther given that a well-known narrative of their migrations is to have inscribed in the university of life and admitting failure to translate would equal failure of their life project. Translation thus is a core part of learning and understanding which equals living in the case of my interlocutors. How then to deal with non-translatability conceptually?