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Press Release: Events
Ahdaf Soueif Heads The First Literary Translation Conference In The Gulf

Posted at 6:37AM Thursday 20 May 2010

Doha, Qatar. May 18, 2010. Bloomsbury Qatar Foundation Publishing (BQFP) in association with Carnegie Mellon University in Qatar, is holding a two-day conference from May 19 – May 20, 2010 titled Continuing the Conversation: Bridging Civilizations through Translation focused on literary translation.

Taking place for the first time in the Gulf region, the conference is designed to create a Gulf-based platform to discuss issues related to translation at both the theoretical and practical levels. Panels of top literary translators will discuss philosophies and strategies of translation in general.

The conference sessions will be moderated by the award-winning international bestselling author Ahdaf Soueif. "Translation is how you make friends across languages and find the common ground between cultures. It's perhaps the activity we most need in the world today. Bloomsbury Qatar Foundation Publishing is superbly placed to give literary translation between Arabic and English a new and significant push forward. I'm delighted to be part of that effort." Said Soueif.

In addition to attending the plenary discussions, groups of translators will meet in workshops with leading practitioners and educators to focus on various aspects of the craft in relation to Arabic/English and English/Arabic translation led by Mona Baker, Professor of Translation Studies at the University of Manchester, UK; Samia Mehrez, Director of Center for Translation Studies at American University in Cairo, and Sameh F. Hanna, lecturer in Translation Studies and Arabic at the University of Salford.

Dr. Amal Mohammed Al Malki, Assistant Teaching Professor of English at Carnegie Mellon University in Qatar who helped develop the conference program says "Out of the University's conviction in fostering well-rounded students who are comfortable with English as well as Arabic, I have been teaching a translation course called "Bridging Civilizations" to our students," said Al Malki. "Teaching translation as both theory and practice is crucial to our students as translation is a part of their make-up as bilinguals. Translation is prominent in connecting voices and experiences and transferring them across different linguistic communities. Lack of a common language can certainly hinder the possibility of connecting with others. Therefore, we are very excited and happy to work with Bloomsbury Qatar Foundation Publishing on this first of a kind conference in Education City, and hope to make it an annual event."

The plenary sessions on Wednesday, May 19 will be devoted to various themed discussions beginning with Amanda Hopkinson, Professor of Literary Translation at the University of East Anglia and writer, editor and translator Daniel Hahn giving thoughts on " What Makes a Literary Translator and What Does a Literary Translator Do?" The afternoon plenary session will stage "The Politics of Translation: Culture, Gender and Art" by Maureen Freely, frequent translator of Orhan Pamuk and Marilyn Booth, Chair of Arabic and Islamic Studies at the University of Edinburgh.

Ahdaf Soueif will moderate the closing plenary session including all the speakers on May 20 titled "Ways Forward: A Public Round Table of Plenary Speakers and Leaders."

This conference was initiated by BQFP and part of its efforts to improve standards of Arabic language translation as well as editing of texts both into and out of Arabic and make it more accessible.

Mohanalakshmi Rajakumar, PhD, Reading and Writing Development Director said "BQFP is keen to draw on its network, expertise and experience to hold activities such as Qatar's first literary translation conference in conjunction with other vital locally based partners such as Carnegie Mellon University in Qatar. By helping develop and nourish literary translation in the region, BQFP seeks to improve the standards of Arabic translation and ultimately give readers a more enjoyable reading experience."

Pre-registered attendees include 75 participants from the greater Doha community, as well as 20 invited international delegates from Egypt, Lebanon, the UK, the U.S. and Nigeria.

The conference will take place on May 19-20, 2010 at Carnegie Mellon University in Qatar, Education City, lecture Hall 1202. For more information please visit:

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