The Arab-American Translation Gap

What works of American literature should be translated into Arabic? The government of Abu Dhabi is asking: Kalima, an initiative founded last year by the country’s Authority for Culture & Heritage, is soliciting suggestions for American novels, short stories, and poetry in conjunction with this year’s National Book Festival in D.C. Kalima’s first to-do list, announced last year, includes William Faulkner‘s The Sound and the Fury, Isaac Bashevis Singer‘s Collected Stories, and Robert Heinlein‘s Stranger in a Strange Land. Kalima’s head, Dr. Ali bin Tamim, tells the United Arab Emirates Daily News: “It is noteworthy to mention that the complete works of great American writers such as Nathaniel Hawthorne, F. Scott Fitzgerald, Ernest Hemingway, and William Faulkner—are inaccessible to Arab readers.”

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