Translation masterclass from Arabic to English

February 9, 2013 § Leave a comment

Roger Allen, who was the first student in Britain to receive a degree in modern Arabic literature, from Oxford University in 1968, has translated the works of many masters of Arabic literature. Among these: Naguib Mahfouz, Yusuf Idris, Ibrahim al-Koni, Jabra Ibrahim Jabra, Abd al-Rahman Munif, and Saadallah Wannous, Bensalem Himmich, Jurji Zidan, Hanan al-Shaykh, May Telmissany, Hassan Najmi, and many others […].

Allen does not believe that classical Arabic and ‘ammeya Arabic are two separate poles. There are infinite possibilities between them and both the writer and the translator should be given the freedom to experiment with those possibilities.

For example, he said, the Mahdi edition of Alf Leila wa Leila (The Thousand and One Nights) was translated into a language that is not entirely classical and did justice to the oral tradition of the work. On the other hand, the Bulaq edition of Alf Leila almost wiped all that out and transformed it into a strictly classical text. […]

In conclusion, Roger Allen said that there is a great need for Arabic translations in the Anglophone world in contrast to the literary translations faring in the Francophone world.[…]

Source (blog): Arabic Literature (in English)


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