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Lost and Found in Translation

Wednesday 24 August 2005 by Natasha Mullins

Lost and Found in Translation Overview

This report aims at highlighting some issues of relevance in the field of translating into Arabic. Firstly, Arabic language issues are outlined in order to shed light on the complex linguistic situation of speakers and readers of Arabic in the vast area between Morocco and Oman. The second chapter deals with the efforts undertaken in modernizing Arabic, in particular in unifying its academic lexicon and style. A third part briefly deals with the situation of the book industry in the Arab world. The emphasis is put on current methods of bibliographic documentation. More precisely, this part presents the challenges posed by the deficits in data collection which impede the proper assessment of the volume of publishing in general in the Arab world and the volume of translating into Arabic in particular. The fourth chapter gives an overview on some selected translation projects undertaken since 1950s in the Arab region. It outlines the most important characteristics in terms of content and orientation, with regard in particular to the field of social sciences and humanities. The fifth chapter takes the analysis further into the key issues of translating, while the sixth chapter looks at different publishing strategies among the existing translation programmes. The seventh chapter closes the analysis with a brief presentation of issues related to the distribution and marketing of books. Finally, recommendations are made that may facilitate operational approaches in order to strengthen translations into Arabic and that may serve as a basis to create translation support schemes.

As new initiatives in the field are being launched, the report does not have the ambition to provide comprehensive information on virtually all translation programs and projects in the region. It is, however, a unique contribution to the scarce bulk of information on publishing and translation-related matters in the Arab world.

Download the full report here:

PDF - 489.1 kb
Lost and Found in Translation Report