Thursday, August 28, 2008

I want to marry!!!

Not me :-) presents a young Egyptian female writer, Ghada Abdelaal whose blog turned into a book and will become a sitcome.The blog, for those of you who read in Arabic and understand Egyptian vernacular, is here

I have not laughed so hard in a long time.. As good as The Big Fat Greek Wedding (

After having laughed, however, a question crossed my mind. How do you translate this into English. Translating Ghada's writings would involve (a) translating foreign humour and (b) translating a whole cultural perception totally alien to the English-speaking world. Not to mention that the vernacular will have to be translated into vernacular - i.e. Aussie dialect - or totally exoticised to remain Egyptian. In both cases one loses much of the original appeal.

Any ideas?

Friday, August 08, 2008

Farewell to a teacher... who didn't even know

It is difficult to say what the influence of Sami Khashaba was on me, but he definitely made me aware very early in my life what a great translation looked like.
I was a bilingual teenager when I first got to read Colin Wilson - through my dad's fascination with him - and I read him in translation, the translations done by Sami Khashaba.
Later, in my first years at uni, I re-read Colin Wilson in English, and found him as good as Sami's translations of him. In actual fact, Sami probably made Colin sound more academic than he ever was, without killing the boyish enthusiasm.
Sami passed away last month. Me, far away from the throbbing heart of the Arab intellectual circles, did not even get to hear until today.
I am a translator, Sami. It’s a pity I can’t tell you that, and thank you for what you taught me without knowing.