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By Saleh Elghazy


The Egyptian Ministry of Culture announced the final recommendations of the ‘Translation from Arabic: A Bridge of Civilization’ Conference, which was held as part of the professional program of the 53rd Cairo International Book Fair, in the presence of dozens of Egyptian, Arab and foreign publishers, translators, intellectuals, and representatives of the media.

Dr. Enas Abdel Dayem, Egyptian Minister of Culture gave the opening speech of the Conference, and keynote speeches were delivered by Ambassador Nabila Makram, Egyptian Minister of Immigration, Sheikha Bodour Al Qassimi, President of the International Publishers Association, Dr. Ali bin Tamim, President of the Abu Dhabi Center for the Arabic Language, and others.

The Conference included three workshops as follows:

The Arab Book in the Libraries of the World: Reality and Ambition

The workshop addressed the reality of the Arabic book in global libraries, and highlighted the challenges that impede the access of Arabic books to global libraries.

Arabic Translation Difficulties

The speakers stressed the need to support a group of orientalists, Arabists, and Arabic language learners to encourage them to translate Arabic knowledge and literature into world languages.

What do the foreign publishers want… and what should we propose?

Speakers discussed the issue of acquiring translation rights, as well as the problems facing translation from Arabic into Greek, given that Greece is the guest of honor for the current session of the Cairo International Book Fair. They also shed light on the issue of cultural differences and the need to raise awareness of the culture of the Arab region.

Conference recommendations

At the end of the Conference, the recommendations committee convened under chairmanship of Dr. Ahmed Bahey El-Din, Vice President of the Egyptian General Book Organization, and concluded with five recommendations as follows:

  1. Holding the conference on an annual basis under the auspices of the Egyptian Ministry of Culture.
  2. Adopting a national project for translation from Arabic by the Egyptian state, in order to support the publisher and translator to be a bridge for Egyptian culture and creativity abroad.
  3. Developing clear and specific policies for the translation-from-Arabic plan, combining the efforts of all parties concerned with the translation movement in Egypt.
  4. Inviting Arabic language departments and colleges in foreign universities, international publishing houses interested in translation from other languages, and foreign translators from Arabic, to attend the activities of the upcoming conference.
  5. Adopting a national project by Egypt’s Ministry of Culture, to prepare an annual list of various publications of governmental and private publishing houses, reflecting the true reality of culture and thought in Egypt.