London: Sharjah Book Authority (SBA) has organised a discussion at London Book Fair (LBF) on how the global health crisis has impacted the translations industry, in particular English—Arabic, and also talked about collaborative efforts of writers, illustrators, publishers and translators.
The session titled ‘Arabic and English Translation: Trends and Possibilities’ was led by Cairo-born, London-based translator Nariman Youssef, who manages a translation team at the British Library; and Marilyn Booth, who holds the Khalid bin Abdullah Al Saud Chair for the Study of the Contemporary Arab World, Oriental Institute and Magdalen College, Oxford.
Booth noted the global translations sector is witnessing a remarkable growth, owing to surge in reader demand for diverse literature. She also pointed at the growing number of translation professionals and entities dedicated to the field, highlighting that several publishing houses, particularly in Europe, the US and the UK, are showing keen interest in Arabic literature.
“The promotion of the translations movement is a collective responsibility, and there are great opportunities to develop the sector globally. More importantly, it is not only the best-sellers that publishers should be considering, but also look at translating quality contemporary works in order to present readers with diverse content. There are several such contemporary novels, which have enjoyed tremendous success after being translated from Arabic into other languages," Booth added.
Youssef said: “The realities of the global translations sector, which has witnessed good growth particularly in the past ten years, are changing. The number of specialised entities and freelance professionals in the field has increased, thanks to the development of the digital communication ecosystem.
“Today, writers, translators and publishers can communicate and strike deals, sign contracts and discuss finer details without having to travel and meet in person,” Youssef noted.
She added: “Writers should diversify the topics they present, and research new methods that make their writings more acceptable and appealing to new generations."
Meanwhile, the Emirates Publishers Association (EPA) has highlighted the potentials of Arab publishing industry at LBF, where Sharjah is being celebrated as ‘Market Focus’ — the first representative of an Arab city to receive this honour.
Bodour Al Qasimi, president of the International Publishers Association (IPA); Sheikh Fahim Al Qasimi, Chairman of the Department of Government Relations (DGR), and head of the Sharjah delegation at LBF 2022; Ahmed Al Ameri, SBA chairman, and a delegation of high officials, visited the EPA’s stand, where they were briefed on the unique works of the participating publishing houses.
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EPA president Ali Obaid Bin Hatem said: “Sharjah’s honour as Market Focus is an incredible opportunity to celebrate Emirati literature and Arabic books and forge stronger cultural links with publishing stakeholders in the UK and around Europe. We are looking forward to making meaningful connections with UK and international publishers to enhance our business partnerships, expand our activities and enter new markets.