8 November 2017

Cameroon: Bilingualism Practice - Difficulties Evaluated for Proper Solutions

Members of the National Commission for the Promotion of Bilingualism and Multiculturalism assessed the practice of bilingualism in ministries last week.

The members of the National Commission for the Promotion of Bilingualism and Multiculturalism are certainly now compiling their reports to forward to the President of the Republic on the advances and difficulties in the practice of bilingualism in ministries and some public institutions. This follows the evaluation missions that carried out investigations in different ministries last week. Obstacles Observed Communication Minister who doubles as government's spokesperson, Issa Tchiroma Bakary during the visit of the commission members made up of Samuel Efoua Mbozo'o and Djanabou Bakary, raised the problem of inadequate translators in the ministry. He also raised the difficulty of insufficient training of staff who have to render services to users on daily basis. The inadequacies, it was observed, have led to the predominance of the French Language in the Ministry of Communication. The Minister Delegate at the Presidency in charge of Defence, Joseph Beti Assomo, told the Bilingualism Commission delegation led by Ama Tutu Muna that the practice of bilingualism in the ministry was not yet perfect. The practice of bilingualism was not yet really felt in the external services of the Ministry of Defence. As at now, there is the general believe that the language of command in the military is French. -Indication Signs: The members of the Bilingualism commission who went to the Supreme State Audit Office, Benjamin Itoe and Jean Marie Bodo raised the problem of indication signs and other sign posts that were essentially in French. In other ministries there was the issue of discrimination in the signs posts indicating the names of the ministries with those in the French language in bigger bold characters while those in English was not really visible. The need to harmonise them in the same characters and signs was stressed. Recommended Solutions The members of the National Commission for the Promotion of Bilingualism and Multiculturalism while preparing to forward the report of their findings to the President of the Republic, also on-the-spot in ministries recommended some actions to promote the practice of bilingualism. In almost all ministries visited, they insisted on the allocation of a budgetary line for the training of staff in both English and French, need for all documents to be published in all the languages. The commission members recommended that the Ministry of Higher Education should institute specialized translation departments in domain in the Advanced School of Translators and Interpreters in Buea in order to ensure proper translation of all types of documents.


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