DCT Abu Dhabi in collaboration with SUAD organises lecture celebrating World Translation Day 2018

ABU DHABI, 30th September, 2018 (WAM) — Organised by the Department of Culture and Tourism – Abu Dhabi (DCT Abu Dhabi) and in celebration of the upcoming International Translation Day, the Kalima Translation Project in collaboration with Sorbonne University Abu Dhabi (SUAD), held a lecture today under the title “Translation: A Bridge Between Civilisations”.

The talk featured Dr. Vital Rambaud, Head of French Literature Department at SUAD; Dr. Hana Subhi, Professor of French Literature and Language at SUAD; Spencer Jones, Professor at the Foreign Applied Languages Department, SUAD, and Matthew Elliot, Copyright Senior Specialist at the Publishing Department, DCT Abu Dhabi.

The lecture explored how the Kalima Project has led the way in furthering translation movements in the Arab world through its numerous initiatives, in addition to the challenges encountered by translators today in conveying accurate connotations and contexts from one culture to another. It explored the role of translating subtitles for movies and TV shows in providing access to information and entertainment for all, alongside the limitations that are exclusive only to translating subtitles, such as conveying facial expressions, sound-effects, following the speed and flow of fast-paced banter, and the right approaches to transfer word-plays, puns, clichés and cultural references.


The speakers also mentioned the professional translation of religious scripts, which was first recorded in history through the translation of the First Testament from Hebrew to Latin by Saint Jerome in 383–405 CE. Through this early translation of the Bible, a translator’s power to transfer spiritual knowledge and sacred practices to others defined this profession not as a mere mechanical vocation, but a noble practice that has been spreading knowledge and enlightening societies since ancient times.

Shedding light on the importance of translation in enhancing an international cultural dialogue, the talk discussed the problems of automated translation, and looked at the experiences of translating other languages’ publications into Arabic; the future of audio-visual translation, as well as the profession of a translator and its ethics.

International Translation Day is celebrated every year on 30th September, and was first established in 1953 by the International Federation of Translators (FIT) but was only officially recognised in 1991. It was launched in appreciation of the profession of translators, who endeavour to break down language barriers and make different cultures more accessible for everyone.

The Kalima Project for Translation, one of the leading translation projects in the Arab world and a National Library initiative at DCT Abu Dhabi, was launched in 2007 under the patronage of His Highness Sheikh Mohamed bin Zayed Al Nahyan, Crown Prince of Abu Dhabi and Deputy Supreme Commander of the UAE Armed Forces, with the aim of reviving the translation movement in the Arab world and to start conversations across cultural exchange. Since its launch, Kalima has successfully translated 1,000 titles in various fields and completed translation projects in more than 13 languages across numerous disciplines.

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