Translation Conference to highlight identity and cultural bridging

April 12, 2014 1:16 pm

The Third Abu Dhabi Conference for Translation, which will run alongside this year’s Abu Dhabi International Book Fair (ADIBF) from May 2-5, will focus on ‘Identity and Cultural Bridging.’

The conference is being held under the auspices of the Kalima translation project, an initiative of Abu Dhabi Tourism & Culture Authority (TCA Abu Dhabi). It will shed light on specialised English, Spanish and Italian texts dealing with issues related to identity and cultural communication, in a workshop series tailored for young Arab translators and professionals.

Launching the programme, Dr. Ali Bin Tamim, Director of National Library Programme Management, commented: “We wanted to create a platform for translators and editors to understand the process of cultural interpretation between Arabic and other languages. Translators play a pivotal role in promoting identities and removing barriers to cultural communication and interchange. This conference will develop inter-cultural knowledge and awareness, and create an environment where translators can identify and avoid potential misinterpretation of texts.

“From our Kalima experience, we have noticed the slow pace of translation into Arabic is creating a knowledge lag in comparison with other leading world languages. Through Kalima efforts, we have been able to transfer knowledge and science from 13 languages and translate more than 700 books, but there remains a need to highlight the importance of translation to address this, especially with the increasing pace of knowledge production.”

This year, the conference hosts four training workshops supervised by top academia specialised in translation. The workshops will discuss a wide range of diverse texts, and investigate the best translation methods, while maintaining language identity and relevant linguistic and cultural contexts.
Workshop supervisors are professionals who have translated works and enjoy recognition in their field. The UAE University’s Prof. Said Sheyyab will oversee the Arabic to English workshop, accompanied by Dr. Mohammad Asfour from the University of Philadelphia who will supervise the corresponding English to Arabic workshop. Arabic to Italian will be moderated by Dr. Azzedine Enayah from Roma University with Dr. Zeinab Beniayah, an accredited translator with the Ministry of Justice in Spain taking the lead of the Arabic to Spanish workshop.

In total, 20 young translators from different Arab countries will take part in the workshops, having been selected by the Organising Committee after completing their applications via the Kalima website.

Eligibility was limited to participants between 28-45 years old with translation experience of not less than five years, and selected from graduates from the faculties of arts, translation and languages.

Additionally, 20 students from the UAE will attend as listeners to nurture national translation experts.

“The overwhelming response to the conference by young translators is a promising sign that encourages us to move forward with our project, which is focused on preparing and training new translators who will carry the torch of knowledge and cultural openness”, added Dr. Ahmad Al-Saqqaf, Isdarat and Kalima Project Manager.