Translations help bridge Arab-Western world gap

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Translations help bridge Arab-Western world gap
The panel discussion stressed on the lack of proper translations of Arabic works to English

Sharjah - The forum at SIBF 2017 focused on Arabic literature and the challenges of translating it into foreign languages


Afkar Ali Ahmed

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Published: Sat 4 Nov 2017, 8:02 PM

Last updated: Sat 4 Nov 2017, 10:08 PM

A lack of clear vision in translations is deepening a gap between Arabic and Western literature, according to authors and experts in the field.
Speaking during a panel discussion held on the sidelines of the Sharjah International Book Fair (SIBF), they stressed that lack of proper translation from Arabic to English prevents promotion of cultural and intellectual exchange with the western world.
The discussion titled 'Arabic literature and the challenges of translating it into foreign languages' was jointly organised by BBC and Sharjah Book Authority (SBA). Moderated by Ahmed Al Ameri, chairman of Sharjah Book Authority (SBA), the discussion was attended by writers Ibrahim Nasrallah, Aisha Al Basri and Omar Abdel Razek, BBC Arabic correspondent.
Ahmed Al Ameri said that the role and presence of Arab culture and its wonderful literary productions cannot be denied, and yes, the great disparity between what is published from English to Arabic and vice versa can be observed in favour of what is published from English to Arabic.
Al Ameri added that the important factors to achieve a balance in Arabic translations are follow a language and style accepted by the public, and Arab publishers must build strong partnerships with their Western counterparts.
To enhance the relation between Arab and western publishers, SBA In cooperation with the University of New York, organised a professional programme as part of SIBF's translation activities. The role of personal relations between the Arab writer and the publisher or publishing houses cannot be denied in the granting of the book the opportunity of translation, and the existence of other works that have proved their presence in the cultural arena and have made their way to translation.
Poetess Al Basri explained that the role of the Arab communities in the West does not necessarily reflect the spread or development of literature because their attention is limited. "We need establishments institution and publishers to engage with the translation of Arabic literature to other languages seriously," she said.

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