NATIONAL CENTER FOR TRANSLATION
A BRIDGE TOWARD THE WORLD
In 2006, the National Project for Translation (NPT) celebrated issuing 1000 Books. It is considered the most fruitful project in a long series of efforts exerted in the field of translation in our modern history.
These efforts started with the establishment of Al-Alson School (School of Languages) in the opening decades of the nineteenth century and continued with the work of the Committee of Writing, Translation and Publication, followed by 'Al-Alf Kitab' (One Thousand Book) Project, which had issued 600 titles by the time it was called off. Two other projects were never completed: the first was run by the Arab League under the supervision of Taha Hussein; the second was held by the Egyptian Book Organization and supervised by Samir Sarhan. NPT started building upon the previous attempts but with the aim of achieving larger and more comprehensive objectives to meet the contemporary developments in the field of knowledge. To this end, it set itself a number of basic principles.
Over ten years, NPT achieved positive results and gained credibility and respect in the Arab and international worlds. It established a very well reputation as the more serious and continuous elaborated attempt that aimed at bridging the gap between us and those who preceded us down the same path. It distinguished itself from the preceding efforts in many respects, among which, offering first-hand translation, translation from a plethora of source languages that amount of thirty languages; striking a balance between the different fields of knowledge to meet the deficiencies in the Arab book market; and translation of considerable number of classics along with contemporary works which allowed the Arabic language reader to connect with world cultures despite their quick developments.
Among the Achievements
- The National Project for Translation held three international conferences on the following topics:
- Translation Issues and Problems, October 2000
- Translation and Cultural Interaction, May 2004
- Translation and the Knowledge Society, February 2006
Egyptians and international researchers participated in these events.
- Some authors of the translated books were invited to speak in special conferences and seminars, and discussions of their works were held in cooperation with the Supreme Council for Culture (SCC). Among the invitees were Jacque Derrida, Umberto Eco, Peter Gran, Joost Smires, Pervez Amir Ali, Robert Young, Roy Muttahida and others.
- NPT produced joint publications in collaboration with some publishing houses in Egypt and the Arab world.
- NPT participated in all major cultural events in Egypt by issuing topical translations of relevance to those events and their focal preoccupations. It issued translations on the occasions of the conferences on Women, globalization, cultural dialogue, cultural diversity, as well as on international events for the celebration of some world culturalfigures such as Pushkin, Nazem Hekmat, Chekhov, Cervantes, Lorca and Henric Ibsen, among others.
- In a studied move and on the occasion of celebrating the centenary of the first translation of Homer’s Iliad into Arabic, the Translation Heritage Series, one of the main publications produced by NPT, republished Al-Bustany’s translation which first appeared in 1904 along with a new translation of the same work. It also republished the first translation of Shakespeare’s Hamlet which was undertaken by Tanios Abdu in the closing decades of the nineteenth century along with the most recent translation of the same work, by Mohammad Mustafa Badawi. Such publications aim at supplying first-hand material for researchers interested in studying the linguistic usages of the different translators, the limitations of their choices, their different tastes and their reception.
- On the third translation conference (February 2006), a round table discussion entitled “The National Project for Translation: A Stop on the Road” was held. Cultural figures interested in translation issues, executives of NPT and its associates took part in the discussion. The aim of the discussion was to generate new ideas, prospects, suggestions and specific recommendations for improving NPT, addressing its shortcomings, enhancing its positive achievements, and hence plan for a new phase in its development.
The National Project for Translation
The National Center for Translation
With a full awareness of the importance of translation as a connecting bridge and with the aim of opening up the on-going dialogue to enhance cultural development, and building up on a ten-year experience that comprises positive and negative outcomes, and looking forward to wider horizons, the former Secretary General of the Supreme Council for Cultural and Supervisor of the National Project for Translation has set a plan for the establishment of the National Center for Translation (NCT) as a specialized entity for translation. The plan specified the objectives, directives and timeline of NCT, along with a detailed and flexible managerial structure that allows future developments of the institution.
The National Center for Translation
A: Objectives and directives:
- Reaffirming Egypt’s pioneer role in translation and maintaining her position in relation to the other Arab countries that followed her example and who are entitled to moral and material support from Egypt.
- Improving the conditions of translation so as to achieve proximity to minimum international rates of translation.
- Opening up the different avenues of knowledge for the Arab reader in all fields, from different countries and languages whereby breaking the hegemony of a single language and hence configuring creative cultural diversity.
- Filling the gaps of knowledge that exist in our contemporary culture and in the scientific fields which are of concern to academic institutions aiming at keeping pace with the explosive knowledge revolution.
- Striking a balance between the different fields of knowledge to address the deficiency in translating science and scientific culture which would ensure enhancing scientific awareness and developing it as well as supporting scientific research.
- Constructing a strong network with the international institutions that can morally and financially support translation through protocols for joint publication.
- Cooperating and coordinating with the institutions concerned with translation in the Ministry of Culture and with private publishers in Egypt and the Arab world in order to raise the total rate of translated books.
- Supporting translation through training translators and improving their skills hence creating new generations of translators that acquire training and experience through participating in translation workshops; setting a plan for hosting full time translators; and offering prizes for distinction.
- Raising awareness about the importance of translation among readers and cultural figures through:
Organizing international conferences on regular basis in order to bring together researchers, translators and writers from Egypt and the world to discuss translation issues and problems.
Organizing a monthly cultural salon for discussing the publications of NCT and conducting open dialogues with writers, translators, publishers and critics interested in developing theoretic awareness of translation through seminars and lectures.
Issuing a newsletter for the dissemination of news of NCT, its activities, publications and future plans, besides book reviews and news of translation and translators.
10.For the purpose of fund raising, NCT will organize training programs, translation workshops and special courses for a nominal fee to meet the needs of the different institutions, companies and syndicates besides the free-of-charge training programs offered for students and researchers. It will also translate the publications of international organizations and institutions such as their books, reports, newsletters, research papers, agreements, contracts, or any other sort of publication.