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Tuesday 29 June ,2021

The National Archives launches its 1st Translation Conference with an opening session and nine papers discussing important translation related issues

Alraisi: From Abu Dhabi, the capital of the Emirates of Tolerance and Love, we begin the Translation Conference to improve the translation movement

The National Archives launches its 1st Translation Conference with an opening session and nine papers discussing important translation related issues

The first virtual international translation conference was launched today, under the theme "Translation in the digital age between modern technologies and the challenges of historical text". The conference opened with a speech by His Excellency Dr. Abdullah Mohammed Alraisi, Director General of the National Archives, who confirmed that the National Archives is holding this conference within the framework of one of its strategic objectives, which requires the provision of integrated research and knowledge services, pointing out the interest that translation receives in the UAE, which  believes that translation plays an important role in bringing nations closer, facilitating dialogue, understanding and cooperation among the peoples of the world, contributing to development and building a culture of peace and international security. His Excellency also stressed the importance of translation in the next 50 years, as has been the case with historical records and documents held by the National Archives in the past 50 years.

Welcoming the participants in this international conference, he explained that in its ten sessions the Conference will discuss the most important challenges the translation movement faces at present as translation is now, more than ever, one of the most important cultural exchanges in our modern and contemporary world.

He noted the importance and diversity of the conference's themes, including machine translation and artificial intelligence, the mechanisms of globalization and translation methods in the digital age, the dilemmas of translating old documents, bridging language gaps in archives through digital translation, translating oral history narratives, translation and identity, and translation and dialogue of civilizations.

At the end of his speech, the Director General of the National Archives thanked the employees, who oversaw the organizing of this conference, and also the participants, speakers, and senior professors at major international universities. He also invited all those interested to follow the conference sessions broadcast from Abu Dhabi, the capital of the Emirates of Tolerance and Love,  which aims to improve  the translation movement around the world  in the service of our society, our nation and all humanity.

Mr. Hamad Al Hamiri, Director of the Research and Knowledge Services Department at the National Archives, moderated the opening session and welcomed speakers, followers and participants wherever they were, and thanked the Top Management of the National Archives, which provided this virtual platform for the International Translation Conference to discuss the most important challenges facing the translation movement, and improve the translation of historical texts while maintaining their contents integrity and authenticity for generations to come.

Professor Saddiq Gohar, translation expert at the National Archives, delivered the keynote    address, entitled "Translation and the Preservation of the Memory of the Nation: Tarjamat Project as a model". He started with the words of the British translation theory historian Professor Peter Newmark: "Translation is an authentic pillar of the cultural life of every civilized people", and then he focused on the National Archives’ role in promoting cultural convergence and dialogue and calling for fraternity and peace.

The conference's keynote address touched on the translation project launched by the National Archives to serve as an important umbrella for translation to and from various languages because of its importance in the global cultural movement during the new millennium, based on the fact that the National Archives is interested in translating history in order to preserve the memory of the nation.

Prof. Gohar highlighted the importance of translation in introducing the world to the glories of the past and the present and enriching the human heritage, emphasizing the National Archives’ interest in translation to preserve the national and historical heritage extending from the country’s pre-establishment phase through the establishment phase after the founding fathers laid its foundation, to the progress and development phase, until the current phase in which the UAE holds a prominent position regionally and internationally. He also added that besides monitoring history, translation highlights the achievements of the UAE's current civilization, and all that has been written about the UAE.

The interest in translation comes in line with the wise policy of the UAE’s leadership that has turned the UAE into a cultural beacon for the dissemination of science, knowledge and literature, and it has made it an important hub for stimulating the movement of global trade at a stage where the entire world has testified to the important cultural achievements which the UAE has made.

In the opening session, a documentary was displayed featuring the most important stages that the National Archives went through as it has been documenting the memory of the nation for nearly fifty-three years, collecting documents and information which became accredited references for research on the history of the Arabian Gulf in general and the UAE in particular.

The first session of the conference, entitled "Translation and Trans-Civilizational Dialogue in the New Millennium", was moderated by Mrs. Aisha Al Dhaheri, Head of Translation and Publishing Section at the National Archives. It began with a paper by Professor Neil Sadler of Queen's University in the United Kingdom, which discussed "Translation and Datafication". The researcher referred to the increasing prevalence of data, pointing out that the conversion of data raises questions for translation as a practice, and for translation studies as a system. In this regard, he highlighted the conversion of data, which is no longer just a target task, but has become an inspiration for more information. Subsequently, data held by translators are becoming increasingly important that data conversion requires greater attention to translation forms.

Next was a paper by Professor Carl Steinitz of Harvard University, entitled "Translation and Global Cooperation". It examined the possibility to form multidisciplinary global scientific teams to address complex problems in scientific and global studies that require further cooperation.

Then, Professor Igor Maffer of the University of Ljubljana in Slovenia discussed "Translation from German to English: James McAuley's Translations of Georg Trakl's Poems", in which he stressed that the translation should not be literal, but rather be able to convey the original text with embedded emotions and feelings. He also discussed the translation of the Austrian poet George Trakel’s poetry into English, and the latter's influence on McAuley's poetry "Late Night Music".

 At the end of the first session, Professor Leslie Tramontini of the University of Philipps Universitat, Marburg in Germany discussed a paper entitled "Poetry is what get lost in Translation: on the Pitfalls and Challenges of Translating Arabic Poetry". She explained that translating poetry is a major challenge, and focused on the difficulties and challenges of translating Arabic poetry for a European scholar and translator, and she has referred to many examples from pre-Islamic and classical poetry.

The second session on the conference’s first day was moderated by Mrs. Shahinaz El Naggar of the National Archives, was entitled " Globalization Mechanisms and Translation Methods in the Digital Age". The fifth paper prepared by Professor Dr. Charlotte Bossoeux of the University of Edinburgh in the United Kingdom, entitled: " Identity in Translation: Multilingualism in Jane the Virgin, and its French and Spanish Versions.

The sixth paper was presented by Professor Tarek Shamma from Binghamton University, New York, USA, entitled “A Historical Anthology of Arabic Translation: Challenges and Prospects.

The 7th paper was presented by Professor Salah Basalamah from the University of Ottawa, Canada, entitled “Translating Islam into Secularism and vice versa: A Dialogue with(in) Western Modernity”. Professor Abderrahman Beggar from the University of Wilfrid Laurier- Canada presented the 8th paper entitled  “Reinventing the past through translation. The Case of Alvar Nuñez Cabeza de Vaca’s Relación de los naufragios y comentarios (1555)”. Professor Marc Shell from Harvard University-USA presented the 9th paper entitled “From Electrum to Electricity:  Regionalism, Universalism, and Problems of Translation in the Digital Age”.

Many important questions relevant to the topics and themes were answered during the two sessions that were held on the first day of the conference.