From Arabic to English: Lost in Translation
In speeches and conversations, American poet Robert Frost has often been quoted as saying, “Poetry is what gets lost in translation. It is also what is lost in interpretation.” A few months ago, the English Department asked me if the library had any books originally written in Arabic that had been translated into English that were written for Young Adults.” I had no idea. Thus began my quest. It has been delightful. I’m proud to announce a new featured collection “From Arabic to English: Lost in Translation,” which examines the difficulty of translating traditional Arabic forms of literature—from Kalila wa Dimna to Hayy ibn Yaqzan—into English. When I ask them about bits of Holy Koran or Arabic poetry, so many students say, “Miss, it’s just not the same in English.” However, after studying authors like Ghassan Kanafani, Mourid Barghouti, Hoda Barakat, Tayyib Saleh and Mahmoud Darwish, I feel compelled to share their voices, even in broken English. These are works of profound significance, worthy of translation, no matter if some poetry may be lost, no matter the risk of misinterpretation. Here is a list of available Arabic titlestranslated to English as well as our New Arrivals. Please drop by to have a look or go online or to your local libraries to find some of these titles. They are worth looking into. Reading translated literature imbues the reader with a sensitivity toward the outside world that people who don’t read can sometimes lack (John Connelly, The Book of Lost Things).