Tuesday, October 29, 2013

Translation for Bigots: The Art of Translating Arabic Literature into English

By: Nehal El-Sayed and Eman Sarkes

(Photos by: Eman Sarkes)

CAIRO, Egypt – Adam Talib, assistant professor of Arabic Literature at The American University in Cairo (AUC) gave a lecture titled “Translation for Bigots” on Sunday.

As part of an interdisciplinary series organized by the AUC Center for Translation Studies, Talib discussed his anecdotal experience with translating modern Arabic literature for English readers.

“When you’re translating into English, you’re translating for a world,” said Talib as he emphasized on the English language being global. Talib stated that when he translates, he has a fair amount of discretion, in terms of what to emphasize or de-emphasize.

Talib talked about his experience with translating modern Arabic literature and trying to make his translations readable. “I often do things to the original text to make them approachable,” he said.

He related bigotry to the differences in cultures and discussed how it affects the literary translation. He showed examples of Google automatic search engines such as, “Do Arab women marry black men?” Talib believes that this is not evidence for bigotry, yet “an evidence for the cultural gap between the specialist translator who knows his environment well and his audience”.

A discussion question was raised on what translators should do in the use of language to correctly represent the situation. He stated his experience saying, “A lot of times, you translate what’s on the page, and the reviewers find it peculiar”.

Talib stated that translators only care about the translation not the political questions surrounding it. He gave an example of a translation by a French translator who ignored translating a scene about Jews for a specific legal reason that they have a law about Holocaust denial.

In response to the question about the role of translator, Yosra Ali, political science and history sophomore, said, “I believe that translators should not change anything of the authentic text, but at the same time they may provide comments as footnotes to clarify the meaning”.

In a personal interview with Professor Talib, he said, “the better a reader the translator is, the better translation he’s going to produce.”

Friday, October 25, 2013

Egypt: A Country Lost Between the Generals and Islamists

By: Sarah Yousri, Menna Al Malky and Karima Aly

CAIRO, Egypt -- Sharif Abdel Koddous discussed Egypt's continuing struggle since the 25th of January revolution at The American University in Cairo (AUC) on Wednesday.

The lecture was hosted by the Middle East Studies Center (MESC) and the Department of Journalism and Mass Communication (JRMC).

Koddous started the lecture by stating that it has only been 1000 days since the first revolution. He then continued that the problems that have initially sparked the first revolution have not yet been solved such as the fair distribution of wealth and freedom among citizens.

“The military is firmly in control," said Kouddous. The military is using the constitution to establish it's political and economic power as well as seeking to ensure it's supremacy in the country.

The current political crisis is a result of the power struggle between the military and the Muslim Brotherhood according to Koddous. Both parties played a "zero-sum game," which demands choosing between the two powers.

Koddous went deeper into the struggle between the two powers by adding that both only seek their own political and economic concerns over that of the public's. He also added that both powers are defined by hierarchy, secrecy and superiority.

Nine-thousand strikes took place throughout ex-president Mohamed Morsy's year in power after he used harsh tactics against the opposition encouraging a brutal security sector in addition to restricting citizen's rights to protesting in the draft law. 

Morsy's opponents mainly consisted of Human Rights advocates, revolutionary activists, business elites and the Coptic Church.

Koddous then talked about Tamarod, a genuine movement appearing in early May 2013, and how the military managed to successfully co-opt with the movement to regain power. 

The military managed to gain publicity through liberal figures. But managed to demonize Dr. Mohamed ElBaradei, also a liberal figure, for disagreeing with it's violence against the Islamists.

Koddous' audience reacted positively towards his lecture. Mai Mekawy, a finance major student at AUC, believed that Koddous summed-up the situation in a balanced way.

In an interview, when asked whether or not he thinks that Abdel Fattah El-Sisi will be running for presidency, Koddous said that Sisi will want "to be the real power of the country but not to be the face of the government."