To Translate, It’s Not Enough To Understand a Language, ‘One Needs To Feel It’

I wish I could have attended this in person!

Arabic Literature (in English)

A panel made up of an Arabist, a specialist in modern Arabic Literature, and an author discussed the aspects of translations that delight and nettle them at the Seventh Emirates Airline Literature Festival, which took place at the beginning of this month:

By Sawad Hussain

Photo credit: Sawad Hussein. Photo credit: Sawad Hussain.

Translation from any language into another is a tall order, each having its own cultural references and local idioms. But translation from Arabic is another story altogether: one-sentence paragraphs; subjects separated from their verbs by lines on end; colloquial Arabic, from any possible number of countries, mixed in with Modern Standard; the tense being a mood rather than actually stated throughout the text; and the list goes on.…

As such, it wasn’t surprising that the Seventh Emirates Airline Literature Festival dedicated a session to unravelling “The Sticky Arts of Translation and Interpretation.” Though Arabic wasn’t mentioned explicitly in the title, the session primarily…

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