Literature Fellowships: Translation Projects 10-20K


Daniel writes:

Starting in December 2004, the National Endowment for the Arts (NEA) will accept grant proposals from individuals to "encourage translations of writers and of work which are insufficiently represented in English translation. All proposed projects must be for creative translations of published literary material into English. The work to be translated should be of interest for its literary excellence and value. Priority will be given to projects that involve work that has not yet been translated into English."

Awards will range from $10,000 to $20,000 and will only be awarded to published translators. Other conditions apply.


Actually, what is really needed is Arabic translations of American and English literary works. Arabic speakers and readers have to learn a foreign language to read the world's literature, and translations into Arabic works are the most under-represented. A recent report by the UN noted that more books are translated from other languages into Spanish each year, than have been translated from other languages into Arabic since the 9th century. The United Nations Arab Human Development Report 2003, see:
documents this knowledge deficiet of Arabic language materials.
I suspect, although I don't know for sure, that there are more works in Arabic translated into English, than htere are English materials translated into Arabic. We therefore have a better chance of understanding them than they do of understanding us. We need to break the cycle of knowledge deficiet and poverty in publication (free or cheap books) resources if we are to help bring the Middle East into a world society.
If the US is going to be engaged with the middle east for years to come, then we should make sure that our country's literature will be made available in Arabic, so the people we inter-act with will have some chance of understanding American traditions and thinking.

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