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‘One Hundred Books along the Silk Road’… Arabic and Chinese Cultural Exchange through Translation
Under the banner ‘Sino-Arab Cooperation – Culture First’, the ‘Discussion Sofa’ at the 27th edition of the Abu Dhabi International Book Fair, hosted an introductory seminar which addressed ways of creating books that transcend the borders of language, history, aesthetics and human achievements.
Themed ‘One Hundred Books along the Silk Road’, the seminar was conducted by Dr. Ahmed Al Sai’d, An Egyptian specialist in Chinese affairs, with the participation of Dr. Ali Bin Tamim, Director of the Kalima Project, and Director-General of Abu Dhabi Media; Dr. Haitham Al Haj Ali, Chairman of the Egyptian General Book Authority; Ma Yong Liang, Chinese Publisher; and Jiang Mao Ming, Chinese Researcher.
The seminar discussed the cultural impact of translation in the fields of knowledge and aesthetics through the launch of ‘One Hundred Books along the Silk Road’, in which Chinese books were translated into Arabic and published by the ‘House of Wisdom for Publication and Translation’. The books feature history, novels, geography, mythology, popular art and music, Islamic heritage, children’s literature, law, economy, human sciences and others.
Dr. Ali Tamim commended translators’ efforts, pointing out that the People’s Republic of China will launch a number of initiatives to enhance Sino-Arab cultural exchange, especially the joint translation projects. He underlined the role of Sheikh Zayed Centre for Teaching Arabic, and Sheikh Zayed Library in Beijing.
Dr. Haitham Al Haj Ali stressed that the project is instrumental in reinforcing bilateral relations and boosting the exchange of cultures, which have the same oriental roots and have endured throughout the different phases of history. He emphasised that the project represents a new vision to boost mutual translation through forging partnerships between the House of Wisdom and the Egyptian General Book Authority along with other Chinese institutions. He highlighted the project as a foundation of a human passion towards culture, especially in writing and translation.
Ma Yong Liang, Representative of China Intercontinental Press (CIP) which contributed to publishing the books translated by ‘One Hundred Books along the Silk Road’, referred to the importance of the project as a bridge of communication and dialogue between cultures. She praised the efforts of the Chinese government for supporting the publishing houses that participated to promote and enhance cultural exchange.
Bashar Shabaro, Secretary General of the Arab Publishers Union (APU), also praised the depth, significance and results of the initiative of mutual translation through paper, audio and digital books.
The number of Chinese books translated into Arabic has increased significantly since 2010, due to the demand for more communication between Arabic and Chinese cultural products through translation and the bringing together of creative authors from both sides.