SIBF discusses how not to get lost in translation

SHARJAH, 4rd November, 2016 (WAM) — In a rapidly globalising world, people’s demand to be able to access works of international literature in their native languages is a fast-growing trend, especially in the Arab world.

This has led to a rise in a new generation of Arabic translators who are faced with the challenge of translating works while maintain the integrity of the original pieces.

In addressing these issues at the Sharjah international Book Fair, SIBF, 2016, Heba Shalaby and Amira Elmasry from the Gothe-Instituet Cairo, conducted a session titled, ‘The Transparent Translator’. While speaking on the topics of translation standards, quality management and the art of translating a text well, Shalaby live translated an excerpt from the German work In the Labyrinth of Lies by Ute Krause, using, the online literature portal and translation programme by Goethe Institute.

“Sometimes literal translations don’t work. Translators have to use their judgement in simplifying text for readers, linking sentences or even breaking them up to make it more interesting for readers. Linguistic nuances too must be kept in mind. For instance, Arabic sentences mostly begin with verbs. In my translations, sometimes I start with the subject instead,” Shalaby said.

“Literal translation for most part of a text, before introducing further edits, proofreading and quality checks, at which stage it can be made aesthetically and culturally pleasing, is a great strategy because it retains the originality of the text to the best possible extent while ensuring that unique cultural innuendos and literary flow are not lost,” she added.

A live demonstration of translation on proved beneficial to the attendees, as the real-time challenges and dilemmas faced during the actual act of translation surfaced, and were dealt with simultaneously.