21.3199, Calls: Ling & Lit, Translation, Arabic/USA

Sat Aug 7 02:57:33 UTC 2010

LINGUIST List: Vol-21-3199. Fri Aug 06 2010. ISSN: 1068 - 4875.

Subject: 21.3199, Calls: Ling & Lit, Translation, Arabic/USA

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Date: 04-Aug-2010
From: Tarek Shamma < tarek.shamma at uaeu.ac.ae >
Subject: Translating 'Controversial' Arabic Literature

-------------------------Message 1 ---------------------------------- 
Date: Fri, 06 Aug 2010 22:56:01
From: Tarek Shamma [tarek.shamma at uaeu.ac.ae]
Subject: Translating 'Controversial' Arabic Literature

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Full Title: Translating 'Controversial' Arabic Literature 

Date: 01-Aug-2011 - 04-Aug-2011
Location: San Francisco, USA 
Contact Person: - Secretariat
Meeting Email: secretariat at fit-ift.org
Web Site: http://www.fit2011.org/ 

Linguistic Field(s): Ling & Literature; Translation 

Call Deadline: 01-Dec-2010 

Meeting Description:

A panel on 'Translating 'Controversial' Arabic Literature' at the International 
Federation of Translators XIX World Congress in San Francisco.

Some of the questions that the panel addresses are:
What defines a work as controversial or subversive, whether in the source 
Arabic or in the target culture? Are readers' expectations in the source and 
target necessarily compatible? What types of controversy usually attract 
western translators and publishers? Do translators sometimes highlight, or 
exaggerate, controversial aspects in the works they translate? And what 
strategies do they use in the process? Generally speaking, the 
controversiality label can add interest to a work translated from any 
language. How significant is the work's controversial status to its selection 
for translation from Arabic? Is controversiality a major condition for 
selection, or only one among others? Has there been any change in recent 
years toward more attention to the 'intrinsic artistic value' of Arabic 
literature, rather than its social or political relevance? Conversely, did recent 
political developments in the Middle East and the West (the 9/11 attacks, 
the invasion of Iraq, the rise of fundamentalist movements, the Ghaza 
conflict), and the ensuing interest in the culture and politics of the Arab 
World, have any effect on the perception of Arabic literature and the 
conditions surrounding its translation? How valid are the traditional 
paradigms of Orientalism and exoticism in understanding current translator 
choices and audience reactions in Western languages? Does Edward 
Said's description of Arabic literature as 'embargoed' still illustrate (if it did in 
the first place) the way Arabic literature is being treated by translators and 
publishers? Is there a deliberate intent somehow, as Said stated, to 
'interdict any attention to texts that do not reiterate the usual clich├ęs about 
'Islam,' violence, sensuality and so forth'?

What differences exist between Western countries in the conditions and 
modes of reception surrounding translations from Arabic? To what extent 
can Arab institutions, intellectuals, and writers themselves be blamed for 
deficiencies in translating from Arabic? To what extent can the conditions in 
which Arabic literature is translated and received in the West be compared 
to those governing the reception of literary works from other non-European, 
especially 'Third World,' cultures? 

Call For Papers

Panel Title: Translating 'Controversial' Arabic Literature 
Conference: International Federation of Translators XIX World Congress: 
Bridging Cultures, San Francisco, CA, August 1-4, 2011

Proposal are invited for a panel on 'Translating 'Controversial' Arabic 
Literature' at the FIT XIX World Congress in San Francisco, CA, August 1-4, 
2011. Arabic literature, declared Edward Said in 1990, 'remains relatively 
unknown and unread in the West, for reasons that are unique, even 
remarkable.' Twenty years later, it is hard to say that the situation has 
remained the same: there has certainly been an increase in the availability 
of Arabic literary works in several European languages, and more attention 
is being given to current Arabic literature. Yet, considering the great interest 
in the West (generated mainly by political events) in Arab and Muslim 
societies and the remarkable growth in Arabic literature (especially the 
novel) in recent years, translating and publishing Arabic literature in several 
Western languages is often seen as nothing less than a gamble. Whether it 
is their illustrative social value, their exotic appeal, their connection with 
current trends (as in the case of Naguib Mahfouz, for example), their 
confirmation of established political views or representations, Arabic literary 
works often have to give (non-literary) justifications for their existence in 
Western languages. One very effective pass to translation has been the 
'controversial' or 'subversive' status of a work in Arabic. Writings viewed as 
subverting political, social, and religious establishments or defying moral 
codes (especially when accompanied by public outcries or bans of different 
kinds) have usually been given priority by translators and publishers in the 
West. This panel seeks to explore, from various angles, the translation of 
works considered controversial or subversive in Arabic. Our aim is to 
examine the factors influencing the selection of works for translation, the 
choices and dilemmas facing translators and publishers in the process of 
transferring the work from Arabic, and the recent developments and current 
state of the field. We welcome contributions that benefit from recent 
research in translation studies, especially those engaging critically with 
traditional paradigms in translation theory or scholarship on Arabic 

The submission deadline is December 1, 2010. Presentations should be in 
English. Please send proposals (maximum 300 words) to Tarek Shamma, 
United Arab Emirates University,  tarek.shamma at uaeu.ac.ae.

LINGUIST List: Vol-21-3199	


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