Domesticating Foreign Ads or Translating the Maghreb


TALIM Karima Bouziane presentation

Foreignization, domestication, transmutation… Karima Bouziane has mastered the vocabulary of her topic. At today's presentation at TALIM, the audience caught on immediately to this specialized world of semiotics, which has to do with the study of signs and communication.

The capacity audience (09:00 on a Friday morning – a major feat!) was composed largely of students and faculty from the King Fahd Translation School of Tangier/Tetouan's Abdelmalek Essaâdi University.

We thought that we had hosted the last of the Maghribi Grantees in Tangier last December, and in a sense, we had – Karima Bouziane was a summer 2011 grantee in Tunisia.  Her research topic: "Foreignization and Domestication in Outdoor Advertising in North African Countries: The Case of Tunisia."

TALIM Karima Bouziane

Based at  Chouaïb Doukkali University in El Jadida Morocco, Ms. Bouziane conducted her work in Tunisia in the summer of 2011.  Due to timing considerations, she hadn't been able to present her findings (Download Powerpoint Presentation) to our colleagues at the AIMS sister center in Tunisia (CEMAT).

So TALIM and its guests benefitted from her excellent presentation.  Actually, the audience was perfectly targetted: the students had conducted their own research in the translation of ads on Tangier's main commercial thoroughfare, Boulevard Pasteur.

From their comments and questions, our audience knew the topic.  As might be expected from Masters students at Morocco's premier translation school, Karima's choice of English as the language of her research and briefing posed no problem.




And, just like Karima's shot of the backside of a Tunis bus, with its dodgy mutant "carnivore" ad for a fast food outlet (above), the Fahd School students had plenty of examples of advertisements that had been lost in translation.  There was a lively exchange about whether images could be "translated" (as opposed to text), and socio-political positions taken on the desirability of publicizing luxury goods available to only a minute portion of the population of the Maghreb market.

In all, Karima Bouziane's presentation was further proof – not that any was needed – that the demise of the Maghribi Grant program (apparently the US Government is short of the $25,000 it takes to fund the 10 grants awarded annually) is a travesty.

We thank Karima Bouziane and the dozens of other Moroccan, Algerian, Tunisian – and Libyan and Mauritanian – scholars who have shared their work with the three AIMS centers over the past decade.  And we hope – and are actively campaigning – for the identification of the twenty five thousand dollars that it would take to enable the program to be continued in 2012.

Gerald Loftus

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