Arabic Translation

Bridges of Babel: Celebrating Arabic Language and Culture in Italy

Exploring Translation and Cultural Exchange at the International Festival of Arabic Language and Culture

The International Festival of Arabic Language and Culture, a unique cultural event dedicated to the Arabic language and culture, is hosted by the Arabic Language Research Center at the Faculty of Linguistic Sciences and Foreign Literature, Catholic University, Milan, Italy. The festival strives to uplift Arabic culture in Europe and liberate its study from colonial past biases and misconceptions.

Recently, the festival inaugurated its sixth installment, guided by the theme, “Bridges of Babel: The Role of Translation in Building Civilization”. The event, which continues until tomorrow, Sunday, sees participation from nearly thirty distinguished writers and researchers from both Arab and international countries. The discussions revolve around translation and idiomatic languages, the art of translating poetry, the opportunities and challenges of spreading translation, and liberation of translation from colonial influence.

The opening day offered an insightful lecture by the Italian academic, Stefano Arduini, entitled “Strangers on the Move: The Translators”. This was followed by an enchanting poetry recital featuring Syrian poet Nouri Al-Jarrah and Italian poet Francesca Crowe, accompanied by the musician Hani Gerji.

Today’s festival program began with a morning session named “Translation and Idiomatic Languages”, featuring insightful presentations from Ahmed Youssef, Nesma Hafez Ibrahim, Amarji, and Mohamed Safi Mosteghanemi, each exploring different aspects of language and translation.

The second session, “Translating Poetry?” witnessed thought-provoking discussions from speakers Manuela Golfo, Sobhi Hadidi, Ahmed Yamani, and Kased Muhammad, unraveling the challenges and opportunities in poetic translation.

The third session, “Dissemination of Translation: Opportunities and Challenges”, features presentations by Stefania Angarano, Hatem Al-Shehri, Fatima Al-Budi, and Noura Al-Qasoumi, each focusing on different aspects of the translation process.

In the fourth session, “Translation and Future Questions”, insights were shared by Hussein Mahmoud, Samer Abu Hawash, Ahmed Abdel Latif, and Amr Khafagy on translation in the age of Artificial Intelligence and its potential implications.

Tomorrow’s schedule includes the fifth session, “Experiences in Translating the Novel”, featuring presentations by Paula Viviani, Najla Wali, Islam Fawzi, Aldo Nicosia, and Samir Jries. They will explore diverse experiences of translating novels and the specific challenges associated with it.

The sixth session, “Translating Heritage and Classics”, will see Kazem Jihad, Martino Diaz, Adam Fathi, and Abdel-Fattah Al-Hajmari discussing the nuances of translating classical works and the unique challenges it presents.

The seventh and final session, titled “The Other as Translated and Translated”, will feature interventions by Alawiya Sobh, Amina Dahri, and Yolanda Guardi, centered on deconstructing translation from the perspective of ‘the other’.

As part of the festival, various events are taking place, including a screening of Shadi Abdel Salam’s film “The Mummy”, the “Arab Book Exhibition”, and a graphic art exhibition by artist Khaled Al-Nasseri at the Catholic University Square. These events further underscore the festival’s commitment to fostering a rich cultural exchange between the Arabic world and Europe.

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