For the next week, I’ll be traveling in Luxor and Aswan. Posting again March 19, insha’allah. I was speaking to a PhD student after the Jonathan Wright talk at the AUC, and—as we talked about translation, and our love of words—I had to ask myself: Why do I read (soContinue Reading

The AUC translators series, which hosted its third speaker last night, invites interesting comparisons. Journalist and translator Jonathan Wright spoke yesterday at the university’s downtown campus, addressing issues of translation alongside the first author he’d translated, Khaled al-Khamissi.  Wright addressed translation in a very different manner from Humphrey Davies, whoContinue Reading

New York University’s Abu Dhabi branch has a new project (and a new way to save Arabic in the Emirates?): translating pre-modern Arabic poetry. The “Library of Arabic Literature” project promises to translate a number of pre-modern texts both into modern Arabic and into English. The translations will feature side-by-sideContinue Reading

استفدت كثيراً من ترجمة الشعر التي أمارسها منذ سنوات. I have benefited greatly from the translation of poetry…. فهي أهم تمرين، برأيي، بعد الكتابة نفسها لأنّك تواجه تحديّات العثور على المفردة الملائمة ونقل صور وتعابير من حيّز إلى آخر. It’s the most important exercise, in my opinion, after writing itself,Continue Reading

I think some of what Khalidi says can also apply to literary translations. The same “foreignizing” vs. “domesticizing” debate exists in literary translation: In essence this boils down to the following: do we modernize the text, treating it as if were our contemporary, or do we bring out its archaicContinue Reading

Or, more importantly, how do you know it’s a bad one? I, like you, don’t read both texts side by side: comparing, contrasting, savoring the linguistic differences. After all, my written “literary” Arabic is about at the level of my six-year-old son’s, if that. I can read Russian well enough,Continue Reading

One of the interesting moments in Humphrey Davies’ talk at the AUC campus on Monday night was when an audience member pressed Davies on the topic of free indirect discourse. Or, as scholars like to call it, FID. (Explaining FID is a pain. If you like, here’s a decent write-up.)Continue Reading

…And a Few Other Moments from Last Night’s Talk I never did hear a thorough answer to this question, although moderator Samia Mehrez—head of the American University in Cairo’s new Center for Translation Studies—did ask during his presentation the AUC last night. Davies’ list of translated works is, after all,Continue Reading