7.3 Observations on terminology
The author has held discussions relating to toolcarriers with a very wide range of research and development workers of many institutions in developed and developing countries. From these it is apparent that the vast majority have understood (incorrectly) that wheeled toolcarriers had been highly successful in some parts of the world. While much of this is due to the optimism of reporting, there has also been considerable misunderstanding relating to terminology, particularly the definition of simple toolbars and more complicated wheeled toolcarriers.
In order to distinguish clearly between different types of multipurpose ("polyvalent") implements, CEEMAT proposed a standardization on the term "multiculteur" for a simple toolbar pulled by a chain and "polyculteur" for wheeled toolcarriers that could be used as carts (CEEMAT, 1971). Unfortunately, in the influential English edition of this major work, this important point of definition was missed out, and neither the French words nor English alternatives were specifically proposed (FAO/CEEMAT, 1972). Nevertheless in this work and the book of Munzinger (1982) the words polycultivator and multicultivator were often used as the English equivalents of the French definitions. The present author would have liked to have recommended the continued use of these words in the English language, perhaps simplified to polycuitor and multicultor. However the term wheeled tooicarrier has already become commonly used and understood, while the distinction between polycultor and multicultor is becoming less clear as some manufacturers have used polyculteur (or similar word) to describe simple toolbars (Tropic in Cameroon; CESMAG in Brazil).
There has been a general (but by no means universal) tendency for English-language writers to use the term toolbar for the simple multiculteur implements and the word toolcarrier for polyculteurs. For this reason the author has proposed standardization on simple toolbar, intermediate toolframe and wheeled toolcarrier. This series of definitions is not ideal, being verbose and with the use of the "value" terms simple and intermediate. However standard terms that convey the required concepts are urgently required, and these definitions each with their descriptive adjective should not create further confusion. :
However for the past twenty years there have been no standard definitions and thus in the otherwise useful review by Bansal and Thierstein (1982) entitled "Animal-drawn multi-purpose tool carriers" the words toolcarrier, toolbar and toolframes were considered synonymous, and simple multiculteur toolbars such as the Houe Sine of Senegal were described as toolcarriers. Without precise words to distinguish simple toolbars and wheeled toolcarriers, there has been a tendency in English publications to confuse the technologies. Translation of the terms multiculteur and polyculteur has been clearly difficult, particularly as some authors using the English language have been unaware that in French "multiculteur" has been clearly defined as a simple toolbar.
One important example of confusion started as a minor inaccuracy in a translation of a paper by Le Moigne, published in the proceedings of the ICRISAT seminar on socioeconomic constraints to development (ICRISAT, 1980). At the end of the proceedings the original French version of the paper is given and in this Le Moigne clearly differentiated between the simple toolbars as "multiculteurs" and the wheeled toolcarriers as "polyculteurs" (Le Moigne, 1980a). Le Moigne also clearly stated that the various designs of wheeled toolcarriers (polyculteurs) including the Nolle Polyculteur, the Tropiculteur, and the Bambey "polyculteur a grand rendement" were not well known and had not been widely adopted in West Africa. For this reason, he explained he had not included their insignificant numbers in his otherwise comprehensive tables of animal traction equipment in use in various West African countries. However in the English version of Le Moigne's paper, which was given prominence in the proceedings, both "multiculteur" and "polyculteur" were translated as "tool carrier" (Le Moigne, 1980b). Thus in the English version of the table of animal-drawn equipment in West Africa one category of equipment is labelled "Toolcarriers". Although this heading was annotated with the word "multiculteurs" in parentheses, the use of the word toolcarrier has apparently given the false impression to some English-language readers that thousands of wheeled toolcarriers were in use in the various West African countries, when the original table referred to the "Houe Sine" type of simple toolbar.
The potential for confusion was compounded in two more widely circulated publications of the Intermediate Technology Development Group, in which Gibbon (1985; 1987)- reprinted the English translation of the table of Le Moigne. In these publications Le Moigne's table is preceded by two others specifically related to wheeled toolcarriers and also by two illustrations of wheeled toolcarriers. Thus readers without detailed knowledge of West Africa and French definitions would almost inevitably be given the impression that the thousands of "toolcarriers" in use in West Africa were wheeled toolcarriers. Indeed this had been the understanding of several British development workers including some members of staff of ITDG, NIAE, ODA and UEA.
A similar example of imprecise terminology and potential for misunderstanding is seen in the book of Ahmed and Kinsey (1984) in which Le Moigne's ICRISAT paper (English version) is also cited. These editors concluded that "toolbars" (in this context they were referring to wheeled toolcarriers as promoted in Uganda) had not been successful anywhere in East and Central Africa. However, the authors continued, such implements were widely used in West Africa (Ahmed and Kinsey, 1984).
As a result of lack of clear definitions in the English language, there is still much misunderstanding in the interpretation of the literature in this field. It is therefore necessary for authors to define clearly their terms and for readers to take particular care to ensure they understand precisely to what technology reports refer.