First-ever Arabic Translation Slam


During the first-ever Arabic Translation Slam held at Cairo's British Council Agouza on May 28, translators Adam Talib and Randa Aboubakr discussed the challenges they faced and the choices they made translating a text from Yusuf Abu Rayya’s novel ‘Ashiq al-hayy’. The Slam was moderated by Neil Hewison, AUC Press associate director for editorial programs.

To watch the televised video of the event, click here.

The concept of a Translation Slam is to showcase the art of translation by juxtaposing in a public forum two “competing” translations of a single work, and encourage a lively critical debate of how each version meets its creative challenges.

During the event, Talib and Aboubakr tested against each other and presented to the audience their respective translations into English of a selected passage from Abu Rayya's Arabic novel. To read the Arabic passage, click here, and for their two juxtaposed translations, click here.

Adam Talib joined the Department of Arabic and Islamic Civilizations at the American University in Cairo in 2012 as assistant professor of classical Arabic literature, and is the translator of Cairo Swan Song (AUC Press, 2009) and The Hashish Waiter (AUC Press, 2011)

Randa Aboubakr is a professor of English and Comparative Literature at Cairo University. She has published numerous translations from, and into, Arabic and English.

For more about the translators and the moderator, click here.

Another novel by Yusuf Abu Rayya, Wedding Night, won Naguib Mahfouz Medal for Literature and was translated into English by Neil Hewison, and published by the AUC Press in 2006.


                                     Adam Talib                                                 Randa Aboubakr


 May 2013


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