Wednesday, June 9, 2010

On the state of translation in Syria

For me, translation is not only a bridge between two or more cultures (a statement we often hear or read about translation). It is absolutely much more than that. Though the work of translation can be mentally exhausting, the end result, if nearly complete and closely narrative of the source text, could be completely satisfying and relieving to both the heart and mind of the caring translator. Through translation, i was able to learn creative writing. Translation combines art, science, knowledge, culture, linguistic competence and elements, and so many other disciplines. A successful translator is the one who is able to transfer all of these elements in his background, in a comprehensible way, from a source text which might be 100% contradictory to what he or she has been raised on.

Has translation reached the stage of professionalism in Syria? Do many Syrian translators use or even know about translation-related programs and techniques which are often used worldwide? I for one do not claim to know all of that. For instance, i have just come recently to know about things like "translation memories" programs and websites. Unfortunately, the Masters program at the University of Aleppo does not in any way refer to such recent techniques. The mentalities of our beloved professors are still buried in old time theories which are not used anymore. And the students themselves do not see any practical benefit of being in such an academic degree unless for obtaining the degree itself. That's a shame!

So, who is to blame for the status quo? How do we convey the passion about translation to the would-be translators? Are the students exerting enough time and effort to familiarize themselves with the modern techniques? Or do they only care for obtaining the degree? These are all valid questions to be asked. The state of translation in Syria is not totally gloomy; nevertheless, there are so many stages on the way of development that need to be implemented to drastically improve the study and application of this vital field.

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