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‘Translation Dialogues’…Views, Personal Experiences

‘Translation Dialogues’…Views, Personal Experiences

Wednesday, 18 May, 2022 - 07:15

Damascus-based Dar Kanaan Publishing released ‘Translation Dialogues’, a book by Palestinian-Syrian writer and journalist Mahmoud Abu Hamed. The book includes interviews with translators from Egypt, Morocco, Iraq, Syria, and Palestine who translated diverse works from Spanish, English, French, German, Kurdish, and Greek…The interviews were distributed on four sections: ‘Attempt for Justice’ featuring interviews with Osama Manzalgi, Refaat Atfa, and Abdul Saheb al-Batihi; ‘Third Language’ featuring interviews with Randa Baath, Osama Isper, and Said Boukhlit; ;Translation Standards’ featuring interviews with Adnan Hassan, Abdul Maksoud Abdul Karim, and Hussein Omar; ‘Article and Poetry’ featuring interviews with Rashid Ghouayleb, Mahmoud al-Sabbagh, and Jamal Haidar.


Written by Dr. Mohammed al-Shawish, the book’s introduction discusses two causes: the motives of translation, and the challenge of understanding other cultures. The book also includes many articles about translators and translations published under the title ‘Views and Experiences.’ In one article, Dr. Ahmad Barqawi answered major questions about the field: what is translation? What is the connection between translation and philosophy? What is the so-called ‘phenomenon of translated authorship’, mainly in western philosophy and its history.


In an article entitled ‘Me and Translation,” Dr. Adel Asta spoke about his connection with translation through his experiences with Mahmoud Darwish, and German translations. In his article ‘Arabic who writes poetry in English: translating the world or dismantling it?’, Hossam al-Dine Mohammed wrote about his experience in his English poetry collection ‘Grave Sea’.


For his part. Dr. Hussein Shawish returned to his childhood in his article ‘Translated Books…Impressions and Reflections’, in which he described how translation almost became his best friend as a child. “Translation is a professional work that requires the translator to have more knowledge and culture than writers, poets, and novelists,” said Dr. Nabil Khalil in his article ‘Translation: Inclusive Knowledge and Creativity’.


Said al-Barghouti, owner and manager of Kanaan Publishing, wrote the concluding article in which he spoke about his experience in ‘building bridges between cultures, and providing writers with further knowledge with Arabic publications and translations,” noting that “unlike large publishing houses and non-profit foundations, some publishers recruit translators with modest skills, which affects the quality and credibility of translation.”


For his part, Mahmoud Abu Hamed wrote that the interviews published in the book “used rich arguments and discussions that are close to new approaches supported by new unique experiences in translation.”


He also said this book seeks to give translators their rights as they are generally neglected, especially in our Arab world. Despite all the scientific and technological advancement that influenced all the aspects of our life, including culture and thought, translators have always been neglected by critics, readers, and publishing houses. No one remembers the translator of ‘Zorba the Greek’ or ‘The Night in Lisbon’?


In general, readers do not pay attention to the translator unless he/she is a friend, a relative, or a colleague. Instead, they focus on the novel’s title and author. Publishing houses encourage this neglect by belittling the translator’s name on the cover, and not mentioning any information about his biography or works.


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