In honor of today’s match, we’re running this essay from our beloved FOOTBALL issue, by Moroccan author Yassin Adnan, translated by Moroccan translator Hicham Rafik, with photographs by Moroccan photographer Omar Mesrar.
” Like Rahhal, I specialized in Arabic literature in university, so many of the literary references, jokes, and asides were familiar to me, but many more were not and I found myself diving deeply into biographical dictionaries and classical Arabic poetry collections just to keep up.”
“When Naguib Mahfouz was a boy, he tells us, two paths lay before him. There was the path of the literature he loved to read and write. He could take that path and become a distinguished author. There was also the path of the football he loved to play and the footballers he admired. He could take that, it was said, and become a member of the Egyptian Olympic football team.”
“It is the research and the work that the reader may not see in the final translation that will determine the quality of that translation.”
Court Jesters and Black Mirrors: Translator Alex Elinson on Bringing Moroccan Literature into English
“The words that I fear more than anything when I’m talking to someone in Arabic is, ‘I have a joke.’ They’ll tell the joke, I’ll understand all the words, and I won’t react. Then they’ll tell it again. I’ll understand it, but I still won’t laugh. Humor is a minefield!”