ABU DHABI, 30th September, 2022 (WAM) — The Arabic Language Center Abu Dhabi (ALC), part of the Department of Culture and Tourism – Abu Dhabi (DCT Abu Dhabi), celebrated the International Day of this year’s translation with a special panel discussion on a renowned French novel.
Organized in cooperation with Sorbonne University Abu Dhabi, the Kalima Reading Club event explored “La Quarantaine”, written by Jean-Marie Gustave Le Clézio, translated into Arabic by Jordanian writer Noha Abu Arqoub and published the Kalima translation project.
The event, organized by Sorbonne Abu Dhabi, was part of ALC’s cooperation with leading educational institutions in the region. He also supported ALC’s mandate to enrich and promote the Arabic language through culture, education, research and the arts.
The panel discussion included Dr. Mohamed Ait Mihoub, Tunisian author and Professor of Arabic Language and Literature at Zayed University Abu Dhabi; and Professor Hana Sobhi, professor of French language and literature at Sorbonne University, and moderated by Eman Turki, head of editorial projects at ALC.
Dr. Ali Bin Tamim, President of ALC, said: “Translation is a unique tool for sharing cultures, identities, histories and heritage between societies and is an integral part of any global literary and intellectual movement. . By celebrating this International Translation Day event, we have helped to highlight the importance of translation in the exchange of culture and knowledge, by promoting dialogue between peoples and bringing minds closer together.
“To support the consolidation of cultural ties between civilizations, we have launched the Kalima Project, which is an ambitious initiative to revive and support the translation movement in the Arab world. Our belief is that it advances effective cultural work undertaken in Abu Dhabi and strengthens its leadership on the regional and international cultural map, supporting a new generation of translators, as well as enriching culture and science in the Arabic language.”
“La Quarantaine” was one of four works of French literature selected by the Kalima project that examine pandemics, alongside Jean Giono’s “The Horseman on the Roof”, Jean-Marc Moura’s “The Elusive War” and ” Geopolitics of the Mosquito” by Erik Orsenna and Isabelle De Saint-Aubin.
In ‘La Quarantaine’, Le Clézio describes the fate of three late 19th century travelers who sail to Mauritius to reclaim their family heirloom. En route, a smallpox epidemic breaks out among the passengers and crew, forcing them all to quarantine on a small, unwelcoming island. The stay quickly becomes a bitter experience of confinement, exacerbated by the behavior and mentalities of the passengers.
Le Clézio, winner of the Nobel Prize in Literature, was born in Nice, France in 1940. Growing up, he was exposed to many different cultures within his environment, which shaped his literary works.
The book’s translator, Noha Abu Arqoub, a Jordanian writer with a degree in modern languages from the University of Yarmouk in Jordan. His translated works include “El Escritor y el Otro” by Carlos Liscano, “Obras Completas Y Otros Cuentos” by Augusto Monterroso, “The Human Cannon” by British playwright Edward Bond, “L’Alphabet du Matin” by Alice Rivaz, ‘El Regreso del Joven Príncipe’ by Argentinian author Alejandro Guillermo Roemmers and ‘También Esto Pasará’ by Milena Busquets. Her book of poetry translations will soon be published by the Kalima Project.
International Translation Day is held on September 30 each year to honor language professionals and recognize the global importance of translation.