Publication details [#12858]

Rao, Sathya. 2007. L'Étrange destin de Wangrin or the political accomodation of interpretation. In Salama-Carr, Myriam, ed. Translating and interpreting conflict (Approaches to Translation Studies 28). Amsterdam: Rodopi. pp. 223–232.
Publication type
Article in jnl/bk
Publication language


Hero of Amadou Hampâté Bâ's novel L'Étrange destin de Wangrin ou les roueries d'un interprète africain, Wangrin is the perfect illustration of an interpreter forced to find his way between French colonial authority and the West African colonized population. What is peculiar about this picaresque novel, written within the context of decolonization, is that it opens the way for an intermediary orientation which is neither a return to traditional values (Senghor) nor an apology of socialist revolution (Nkrumah). This middle term is that of a certain 'accommodation' which lays the foundation of an unprecedented policy of translation. Indeed, Wangrin is said to master the Arabic language of Marabous, the French language of colonizers, and several local African dialects. Born under the protection of Gongoloma-Sooké, god of malice, he handles his destiny in such a way to capitalize on the various resources of his environment not without giving something to the disinherited. Considered as a saint by some critics and as a devil by others, Wangrin epitomizes the ultimate interpreter whose mastery of the various discursive territories is such that it transcends geopolitical and geolinguistic boundaries. The character imagined by A. H Bâ (whose life strangely resembles that of Wangrin) is the political, linguistic, and even economic agent of an original work of interpretation overwhelming the established discursive order. Neither conservative, nor idealist, Wangrin's policy of translation is simultaneously pragmatic and humanist. It maximize translational, economical, and political profits while avoiding to get down to a certain level of loss which could be lethal.
Source : Abstract in book