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Experts read between the lines while translating Arabic to English


 

Double meaning

While in English the bird is associated with wisdom and grace, in Arabic it is a symbol of pessimism and has negative associations, Bahameed wrote in the article.

So how can these cultural differences be overcome when translating? For Ahmad Mardini, General Manager, Elaph Translation, the translator's skill is paramount.

"You have to have a very high education, wide mind. You have to be familiar with politics, economics and everything about life," he told Gulf News from his Shaikh Zayed Road office.

"You have to use your spirit, your emotion, your mind, your culture, your context. Whatever you have, you have to utilize," he said. Mardini used the example of translating politician's words, which are sometimes "hollow".

"You have to be able to understand everything, you have to know what the politician is thinking, you have to also translate his spirit, his soul.

"You not only have to make a literal translation, you have to be creative, innovative," he said.

Mardini himself has 20 years experience as a translator, and five years ago set up his translation business.

He is now looking to expand into instant translation as part of the business that employs 30 translators.

It's not just translating difficult political speech that poses a problem, but also translating for children.

Andy Smart translated the children's book "The Gruffalo" with his wife Nadia Fouda. "Al Gharfool" has kept its rhyme in Arabic. So how difficult was it to translate?



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