Why You Should Translate Arabic Novels into English (Yes, You)

Well, I suppose if you don’t know Arabic, or English, or if you’d rather be painting or scaling mountains, then forget I said “yes, you.”

But if you want to be a writer, then the great Javier Marias says his writing developed thanks to his translation of the works of master authors. According to the Constant Conversation:

Marias recounts that the bulk of this translation was something he undertook while he was still a young writer, and he points to it as an essential part of his development as a writer. In fact, at one point he calls it his “creative writing workshop.” He goes on to recount that through translation he had to master the art of writing in a number of voices, as well as stretch his Spanish in ways he had never imagined the language could be stretched.

I know Pasternak translated Shakespeare into Russian; Sinaan Antoon also speaks of the importance of translation in developing one’s craft.

mlynxqualey