publishing business

Does ‘Mehlis Report’ Translation Represent a Shift in English-language Attentions?

Arabic literature has certainly had its share of bumps, bruises,insults, and injuries in English translation, but just as certainly it’s growing and diversifying. In a year where only three new works were translated from Chinese and distributed in the US, more than 30 were translated from Arabic, from al-Shidyaq’s “Leg Over Leg” to Abdul Aziz al-Mahmoud’s “The Corsair”.

Mubtada wa Khabar: Making Arabic Books Visible

It was during a conversation between Yasmina Jraissati and Nadim Tarazi, director of La maison du livre that the idea for “Mubtada wa Khabar” (Subject and Predicate) first arose. It was 2006, and Jraissati had been an agent specialized in Arabic literature for two years, but was struggling to find independent information on books. Where was the Publishers Weekly of Arabic literature? Where were the best-seller lists? How could the information get out?

Making It Visible: Jonathan Wright on (Not) Translating Alaa al-Aswany’s ‘Automobile Club’

Translators are often expected to remain invisible puppeteers, unseen by all except specialists and those good at squinting. The translator who stays in the background is praised: The reader, we’re told, wants to connect with Elias Khoury, not Humphrey Davies; Jurji Zaydan, not Samah Selim. But there are moments when translators feel they must be heard.


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