Abu Dhabi, UAE: The Arabic Language Center Abu Dhabi (ALC), part of the Department of Culture and Tourism – Abu Dhabi (DCT Abu Dhabi), discussed how translation acts as a bridge between people and world cultures at a special event in Paris this month.
Tarjama The “Translation” event on June 3, organized in collaboration with the Institut du Monde Arabe in Paris, highlighted how the translation of languages is a means of sharing thoughts and ideas. In a series of lectures, speakers also explored the rich history of the Arabic language and the future of the language in France.
Organized at the Institute, a world-leading institution that supports Arab culture in France, the discussions brought together personalities including Her Royal Highness Princess Haifa bint Abdul Aziz bin Muhammad Al Muqrin, Permanent Representative of the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia to UNESCO and Ambassador of the Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques to the French Republic, His Excellency Sheikh Salem Al Qassimi, Permanent Representative of the United Arab Emirates to UNESCO, and HE Sheikh Khalifa Al Khalifa, Ambassador of the Kingdom of Bahrain in France.
The sessions highlighted ways to develop a clear plan for new translations from Arabic into French and vice versa, as well as the need to create cultural initiatives to encourage institutions and publishers to provide support for train translators and improve the quality of translation.
The growth of the Arabic language in France was explored in a session entitled “The Arabic language in France: its uses, its transmission and its diffusion”. Jacques Lang, former French Minister of Education and Culture and President of the Arab World Institute, was joined by HE Dr. Ali bin Tamim, President of the ALC and Secretary General of the Sheikh Zayed Book Award, Saeed Hamdan Al Tunaiji, Acting Executive Director ALC, and Dr. Mujeeb Al-Zahrani, Director General of the Arab World Institute. Panelists explored how pluralism is a crucial factor in a country’s language policies.
During a session entitled ‘Paris in modern Arabic literature‘, Dr. Khalil Al-Sheikh, acting director of the Arabic language teaching and research department at the ALC, and Frédéric Lagrange, director of the qualification and research for Arabic and Hebrew studies at the Sorbonne University, discussed how Paris has been used as a setting in Arabic literature to symbolize a gateway to modernity.
Lang said: “When we talk about the Institute of the Arab World, we refer to the cooperation and harmony between Arab and European cultures, and the role of the Institute as a bridge between the Islamic world and Europe, as it seeks to promote and elevate the status of Arabic language and culture, a role shared with the Arabic Language Center Abu Dhabi.
Lang said the ALC and the Institute will continue to work together to organize conferences and cultural events in their efforts to promote the learning and dissemination of the Arabic language around the world. He stressed the importance of cooperation in translating works published in Arabic into French and French into Arabic.
One of the most important agreements between the ALC and the Arab World Institute is the CIMA certification (International Certificate of Mastery in Arabic). Developed by the Institut du Monde Arabe, the CIMA is the first internationally recognized certification to assess proficiency in Modern Standard Arabic. The initiative was founded in 2018 to encourage non-Arabic speakers to learn and master the language and has been heavily promoted by ALC.
HE Dr bin Tamim said, “We have a very important relationship with the Institut du monde arabe in Paris, which has a leading presence in the field of modern Arabic literature. This event serves both cultures through their languages, both of which have rich and meaningful histories. The two languages manifest themselves in all forms of life, art and science, to such an extent that one can count hundreds of words circulating in French of Arabic origin, and the same in Arabic.
“We discussed the future of the Arabic language in France, which is the second most widely spoken language in the country, and explored ways to consolidate its position as a leading language of culture and knowledge among peoples and cultures around the world. We seek, through our recommendations, to strengthen its role as a bridge that introduces global civilizations to our Arab and Emirati culture in a broader and more comprehensive way.
Al Tunaiji said, “This event highlighted key topics including the Kalima Translation Project, which offers Arab readers treasures of world literature spanning multiple languages and cultures. This project has given particular importance to the French language, since cooperation agreements signed with a large number of prestigious French publishers have resulted in the translation of more than 1,181 books in many fields.
He added: “The organization of these seminars strengthens the bonds of openness and cooperation that unite us to the Institute, supports our common cultural movement and embodies a model of cultural openness and cultural communication.