The Translation and Interpreting Institute (TII) of Hamad bin Khalifa University (HBKU), a member of Qatar Foundation for Science, Education, and Community Development (QF) closed their Fifth Annual International Translation Conference on April 15th at the Qatar National Convention Center (QNCC).
TII’s Fifth Annual International Translation Conference that is sponsored by the Bloomsbury Qatar Foundation Publishing (BQFP), began on April 13th, and involved specialized workshops and seminars on a range of topics, including translation technologies, media translation, and simultaneous interpreting.
Dr. Amal Al Malki, Executive Director of TII, gave the opening remarks address on the first day of the Conference. In her speech, Dr. Al Malki highlighted this year’s conference theme of ‘Global Translation Flows’ saying: “This year’s conference has matured to reflect TII’s continuous growth. TII is fortunate to be able to bring together a collage of international and Arab scholars and professionals to participate in this year’s Conference, which balances between academic panels and professional workshops, and introduces seminar presentations that serve as the connection, or transition, between the academic and professional worlds.”
The Fifth Annual International Translation Conference also comprised of keynote addresses on translation and identity, advancements in translation technology, and Arabic literature from a Polish cultural perspective. Each afternoon, participants could attend panels on topics including representation of local events in global media, translating rhetorical devices and autobiographies, and translation and cultural flows, which examined this year’s conference theme. Afternoon sessions of the conference also consisted of interactive workshops ranging, from medical and media translation, to simultaneous interpreting, consecutive interpreting, and translation of political discourse.
In his speech on ‘Translation and Identity’, the Moroccan scholar, Abdeslam Benabdelali discussed the relationship with the other, which does not mean devouring him and assimilating him into the self but rather moving towards him, opening the culture to the other and enriching it with other languages, while welcoming the foreigner. In his lecture, Gilles Gautier indicated that translation is a cultural process that support and development of the translation activity, the world will be at risk of losing its multi-cultural aspect as we all know that mono-culture does not guarantee a safe future for humanity.
Gautier presented few statistics on the texts translated into other languages: Into German: 301,934, Into French: 240,043, Into Spanish: 228,557, Into English: 164,099, Into Chinese: 63,123, Into Hebrew: 10,965. However, texts translated from Arabic into other languages amount to 12,407 only. Mr. Gautier indicated that these statistics show the weakness of translation from and into Arabic language.
Dr. Moneera Al-Ghadeer, Director of Postgraduate Studies and Research at TII, stated, “The question is not how big our share is but rather how do we create a new knowledge with all the challenges that the Arab region is facing. Even if these figures are not quite accurate, they still make us rethink our understanding of the knowledge-based economy and how we can build it without translation.”
TII’s post-graduate students presented their MA thesis projects to attending delegates during the course of the conference. Dr. Al-Ghadeer commented saying: “The conference presented a great opportunity for graduate students to discuss their research projects with professionals in the field of translation and interpreting.”
The Fifth Annual International Translation Conference is established to foster a space for dialogue about translation studies. TII has created a platform that combines practice and theory allowing academics and specialists to reflect and discuss recent trends in the field. This discussion helps to raise awareness of the cultural and professional importance of translation and interpreting in Qatar, the region, and the world. Next years’ conference theme is soon to be announced as the sixth edition is set to be launched in March 2015.
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