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Abstract

This article explores the potential and limitations of interpreter training in Africa. It considers relevant features of the context, namely, the kind of multilingualism that characterizes postcolonial societies (with a coexistence of official, national, regional and vehicular languages within the same geographic space), and the social and geographic distribution of these languages within and across countries. My argument is based on two different interpreter training initiatives implemented in Kenya between 2010 and 2015: a Master’s degree program in conference interpreting for Kenyan and international students with English, French and/or Swahili; and a Certificate program in community interpreting for refugees from Somalia and members of the Kenyan Somali community. The limitations of the programs illustrate the need for a nuanced, contextualized and diversified approach to interpreter training in Africa, and the risks of a one-size-fits-all understanding of interpreting.

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