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Challenges of translation debated at Arab Publishers Conference

Staff Report/Sharjah
Filed on November 3, 2015

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Initiatives that answer the challenges of translation in the Arab world were discussed at the 3rd Arab Publishers Conference which started yesterday in Sharjah.

In a panel discussion involving experts in the world of translation and moderated by Dr. Parween Habib, Arab poet, academic and media researcher in the cultural and literary fields, panelists discussed issues such as the evolution of the translation movement and the governments' role in supporting it.

UAE cultural and media personality Dr. Ali bin Tamim spoke about Kalima, the translation project of the Abu Dhabi Tourism and Cultural Authority that he once headed. "The project worked on supporting the publishing houses and on building relationships with the translators," he said adding that the project involved translations from 13 languages and the signing of nearly 1,000 agreements out of which 850 books were already published.

Dr. Bin Tamim, who is the Media and Cultural Counselor at the Office of the Deputy Chairman of the Executive Council of the Emirate of Abu Dhabi, the Secretary General of the Sheikh Zayed Book Award and the Editor in Chief of 24.ae news website, said that the reality of the translation in the Arab World suffers from non being continuous, from lack of funding and from the domination of ideology over the search for knowledge when it comes to the selection of texts. 

When discussing translation in the Arab world, Philip F. Kennedy, associate professor of Arabic Literature and Middle Eastern and Islamic Studies and Comparative Literature at New York University said that the UAE is establishing itself as the capital of translation in the Arab world.

Kennedy, who is also the editor of Library of Arabic Literature said that "there's a dearth of translations from Arabic into English" adding that the project has a focus on pre-modern Arabic texts and making those little-known texts available to English speakers.


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