"For me, actually, I think we are impacted by male writers who are writing now, and they are writing about broken masculinity, which I don't like either. So maybe women are free of this, relatively. Maybe they are marginalized, so they have more opportunity to think, to write."
"Oh!! Titles… sometimes I think I stress over titles – and opening sentences – for more hours than I spend on the rest of the translation."
What Arab and Arabic literature has been translated to German? We have started a list.
A growing number of Arabic-language writers are setting up in Berlin. What about the situation for Arabic literature translated to German?
"I’d love to translate political and historical non-fiction books, but sadly, it has to be said that trust in Arabic (popular) science in Germany or maybe even Europe as a whole is virtually nonexistent. "
I would wish for a restructuring of the translation grants system, a move away from supporting translations and more towards translation samples to help interested publishers make decisions. Also a move towards support for projects, not just translations, so children’s books and other genres become eligible for support, too.
"In Germany, the percentage of translated literature in the last 10 years was on average 25%, with 70%, however, being translations from the English. During these 10 years, Arabic was in the top 20 most translated languages only four times, and every time behind Latin and Ancient Greek."
"I think that there is a large community of translators who speak German as their native language but who are second or third generation immigrants who just don’t get a chance. There are big asymmetries, a crowding-out by the top dogs who share the few opportunities out amongst themselves."
"So if we have a character that says “so” — which is one of Mobarak’s least favorite words because we do not have many monosyllabic words in Arabic ending in “o” — we cannot use its Arabic equivalent ثم, which necessitates closed lips."