DHAHRAN: The King Abdulaziz Center for World Culture in Dhahran has held a private session dedicated to the importance of translation in all forms of literature.
Expert translator Dr. Bassam Al-Bazzaz defined the future of the practice as one which is “based on human thought — artificial intelligence cannot be a substitute for it.”
He added: “I do not imagine a future without translation, or with translation made by an artificial intelligence machine.
“Humanity will continue to need translation as long as books are multi-sourced and authors are multi-origin.”
He noted that sometimes word-for-word translations did not do the text justice. For select passages it required the translator to dig deeper into the meaning or to expand on the line between the lines in order to fully capture the concept or feeling and accurately present what was said.
He added that the spirit of the words and the personality of the writer should not be lost in translation.
The session emphasized that to translate a book into a different language it should first be successful — and understood — by the people for whom it was originally written.
It should require concerted efforts of institutions and individuals and to showcase the translated work at festivals.
Translation should be respected as one of the channels of literature and the translator should look at the bigger picture.
They should not be merely a translator of words but rather a transmitter of cultures. The translated book must have the validity of the original book, with the same effectiveness and influence.
The participants in the session concluded that the consumer of translated books was likely to be either a passionate reader or a creative writer, especially since the act of translation — and the resulting work — instantly multiplied the reader’s cultural output and expanded the horizons of the writer.