Best of ArabLit: The ‘Rules’ for Translators

In 2011 and 2012, ArabLit ran a series of “rules” for literary translators. More than 20 celebrated and award-winning literary translators participated. In no particular order:

rulesDavid Colmer (Dutch-English)

Judith Wilkinson (Dutch-English)

Samah Selim (Arabic-English)

Susan Bernofsky (German-English)

Fatima Sharafeddine (English-Arabic, French-Arabic, Arabic-English, Arabic-French)

George Messo (Turkish-English)

Becka Mara McKay (Hebrew-English)

Petra Dünges (Arabic-German)

Barbara Skubic (Slovenian-English, English-Slovenian, Arabic-Slovenian)

Pierre Joris (French-English)

Humphrey Davies (Arabic-English)

Jonathan Wright (Arabic-English)

Chip Rossetti (Arabic-English)

Michelle Hartman (Arabic-English)

Andrea Labinger (Spanish-English)

Lisa Carter  (Spanish-English)

Tiina Nunnally (Danish, Norwegian, and Swedish-English)

Maia Tabet (Arabic-English)

Ibrahim Muhawi  (Arabic-English)

Hala Salah Eldin Hussein (English-Arabic)

Elliott Colla (Arabic-English)

Richard Jacquemond (Arabic-French)


  1. I keep telling you ya marcia to compile , edit, add, polish…etc those rules and publish them into a book. People need that sort of books. I am using it for my students and I find them greatly practical.
    Hopefully I can add my own rules about translating YA fantasy soon.

    1. You’re right — I would like to organize these, ask more translators to fill in the gaps, perhaps solicit some training exercises and other things — and put them together, maybe as an e-book, maybe as a printed text. I look forward to your rules!

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