Wednesday, May 14, 2008

Dubai-based Translation Project Promises More Arabic Books

By Edward Nawotka -- Publishers Weekly, 4/17/2008 12:45:00 PM

Last year the Abu Dhabi Authority for Culture and Heritage (ADACH) of the United Arab Emirates launched “Kalima,” a project to translate books into Arabic; its stated aim was to translate 100 works. Late last month, the ruler of Dubai, Sheik Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, upped the ante: His eponymous foundation launched a similar project, albeit one that aims to translate 365 books in its first year – or, in other words, one per day.

Dubbed “Tarjem” (meaning “translation” in Arabic) the project’s stated goal is to “develop the level of information transfer from knowledge-producing countries, especially in North America, Scandinavian countries, and East Asia;” to this end, fully half the titles translated are expected to be business and management books, with the remainder divided among literature, history and sciences. The Foundation already offers grants to writers and supports a one hour-long radio book show, launched earlier this month in Dubai.

Unlike Kalima, which empanelled a group of scholars and literary to select a list of suitable titles, Tarjem is asking authors to submit books for consideration. According to its Web site, the organization is seeking through its various projects to lay “the foundations of a pan-Arab literary renaissance.”

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