LAF Presentation on Arabic-English Translation…and a Little More Sunshine

Presenters Alice Guthrie (left) and Alexandra Büchler present the Literature Across Frontiers report on Arabic-English translation in the U.K. (1990-2010).

The British Council's Cathy Costain gives a brief introduction.
Later, participants circled their chairs to discuss translation.

It will take me a bit longer to put together considered thoughts on last night’s presentation of the Literature Across Frontiers report on Arabic-English translation in the U.K. (1990-2010). But my immediate impression: It might be more helpful to present on Turkish-English translation in Cairo.

Those in the room were generally quite familiar with the landscape and tics of Arabic-English translation. But the Turks, it seemed from Alexandra Büchler, have made great progress in presenting their literature to an international audience. Perhaps it would be helpful to hear about best practices from other languages. And their challenges as well.

At the very end, translator Humphrey Davies remarked that the overall tone of the LAF report “problematizes more than it celebrates,” whereas, he remarked, Arabic-English translation has made great strides in the 20 years the report covered.

If he’d had one request for the report, he said, it would be to bring in “a little more sunshine.”