From Welsh Autumn to Arab Spring

Welsh author Chris Meredith travels to Cairo mid-September 2011 to take part in a literary translation workshop aimed at young Arabic translators. 

The original workshop was cancelled in January 2011 due to the political revolution taking place in Egypt at the time. With the situation there having stabilised, the organisers – Literature Across Frontiers and National Translation Centre, Ain Shams University – decided to go ahead with the pilot workshop which is now being held between September 17-22. The aim of the project is to develop more young professional translators for the Arabic market. 

The workshop, developed with the support of Wales Literature Exchange, will concentrate specifically on translation from European languages into Arabic and will support the University’s efforts in establishing a long-term tertiary course and permanent centre to train young translators.

Chris Meredith, who has published three volumes of poetry as well as four novels, is Professor of Creative Writing at The University of Glamorgan and has vast experience of translating literature including Mihangel Morgan’s novel, Melog, a landmark in contemporary Welsh fiction. He will be leading many of the workshop sessions and discussions. 

“In one session I would like to discuss the use of bridging languages for literary translation. I hope to persuade people that this is possible and can be very successful, especially if there is a sensitive reader of the original work to advise the translator using the bridging language. I plan to use a short extract from O! Tyn y Gorchudd (The Life of Rebecca Jones) by Angharad Price with the English translation by Lloyd Jones, to experiment with the use of a bridging language.” 

Chris will also introduce some of Wales’ literary and linguistic history during an extended workshop session on translating Welsh literature. He will also be reading and discussing one of his short stories as an example of Anglo-Welsh literature. 

The Arabic publishing market is quickly expanding to include many international works with a growing demand for translations of European works – the workshop therefore is very timely.

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