Emirates Literature Foundation Announces Inaugural Translation Conference
Dubai, 20 October, 2016: The Emirates Literature Foundation, in partnership with The Executive Council of Dubai, hosts the Dubai Translation Conference from 20-22 October 2016. The event celebrates the ideals of the National Reading Policy, launched in the United Arab Emirates in 2016, and is another step towards enriching the body of literature in Arabic Language, promoting the creative content of Arab writers to non-Arabic speakers and promoting a reading culture within the Arab world, in an effort to create a new generation of literate and open-minded readers both culturally and intellectually within an inclusive and cohesive society.
The Conference is held under the patronage of His Highness Sheikh Ahmed Bin Saeed Al Maktoum, Chairman of the Emirates Literature Foundation.
‘Reading opens minds, promotes tolerance, openness and communication, and prepares an educated, informed and open-minded people. Our goal is to establish the UAE as a world cultural capital with distinction,’ said His Highness Sheikh Khalifa bin Zayed Al Nahyan, President of the United Arab Emirates, announcing the year of 2016 as a Reading year.
The Conference will deliver a wide ranging programme covering all aspects of translation, with a focus on the evolution of translation in the UAE, presented in an entertaining and informative manner.
‘We have book fairs, cultural festivals, literary and poetry awards and now a range of new initiatives to protect the language and encourage reading. We are building the basis for our journey towards cultural excellence,’ said His Highness Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice-President and Prime Minister of the UAE and Ruler of Dubai.
Ms. Aisha Miran, Assistant Secretary General for Strategy Management and Governance at the Executive Council of Dubai said: ‘The National Reading Policy is a corner stone in the development of the UAE. It re-emphasises the prominent place of the individual and the society in the development process. Both are in the heart of the Dubai Plan 2021 aims and objectives, and the driver behind its programs.’
As part of the Dubai Plan 2021 implementation process, The Executive Council has conducted a series of focus groups in March 2016, branded as the Creative Labs. The Avid Readers lab discussed the challenges facing reading in the Arab world, and the means to foster the reading culture among new generations. Emphasis has been shifted to developing the supply side of reading, and translation came up as a main recommendation to enrich the creative content in Arabic language.
‘Translation is a two-way process that builds bridges among nations and cultures. Today Dubai is making a first move, and we anticipate that others would do the same as well. There is no better time to spread this message than these days,’ Miran added.
Aimed at International and locally-based delegates, and all levels from beginner to expert, the Conference will include sessions from experts in their field, workshops to enhance translation skills and a variety of networking opportunities.
‘We have put together a lively programme that is fresh, relevant, engaging, informative – and hopefully fun,’ said Isobel Abulhoul, OBE, CEO and Trustee of the Emirates Literature Foundation and Director of the Emirates Airline Festival of Literature. ‘Too often the field of translation is seen as dull but we hope this conference will highlight its value and importance. Reading literature in translation opens up new worlds and broadens minds, subtly educating the reader on different cultures and points of view. Young people who read regularly develop greater degrees of empathy and tolerance; reading really is food for the soul. Translators are a vital part of the process.’
Currently the Arabic Speaking World, made up of 22 countries, is lagging behind other languages in the numbers of books published and translated annually.
‘As this is the Year of Reading in the UAE, expanding the range of literature available has never been more important,’ said Abulhoul. ‘We aim to create a generation of book lovers and consolidate the country’s position as a global capital for knowledge and culture. Improving the quality and range of literature in the Arabic language will lead to more readers, in turn resulting in a better educated population. Translated texts form an essential and rich source of available books.’
The opening day will conclude with renowned Arabic author Ahlem Mosteghanemi discussing her life and books in a public session. Mosteghanemi is the first female Algerian author of the Arabic-language works to be translated into English and her work has been awarded the Naguib Mahfouz Medal for Literature.
Topics under discussion at the Conference include ‘Translating The Commercial: A Continuing Trend?’, ‘Literary Diplomacy – Changing Trends and Danger Zones’, and ‘Google Translate and Other Joys!’, with authors and translators giving their insights on the process. Sessions will also take an in-depth look at the industry, including training, careers, best practices, the translator’s role and the impact of technology.
All sessions will take place at the Mohammed Bin Rashid University of Medicine and Health Sciences.
The General Secretariat of the Executive Council of Dubai (TEC) is the emirate’s representative on the Supreme Committee for Reading in the United Arab Emirates. TEC supervises and coordinates all Dubai based activities and initiatives that support the goals of the National Reading Policy, which was announced by His Highness Sheikh Mohammad Bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice-President and Prime Minister of the UAE and Ruler of Dubai.
TEC developed a framework for the Emirate’s national reading strategy, in coordination with other government entities. The strategy focuses on enhancing the supply and demand for reading, in line with the National Reading Policy.
The Executive Council of Dubai plans to implement a number of initiatives and projects over the next two years, in collaboration with strategic partners, to achieve the aims of the National Reading Policy. These initiatives and projects will aim to promote creative content in Arabic, encourage creative young Arab writers, support publishing and printing, and rethink the role of the librarian, due to its importance to the cultural and educational process.
It’s important to note that reading has an important contribution to achieving the goals of Dubai Plan 2021, which focuses on the development and growth of the individual and society. Reading has direct linkages to both the “A City of Happy, Creative, and Empowered People” and “An Inclusive & Cohesive Society” themes.
For more details and to book a place, please visit: https://www.elfdubai.org/en/translation-conference