My interest in translating partly began with a worry that my explorations outside Islamic studies would steer me to faraway places, and that I'd end up losing touch with a language I'd fallen in love with many moons ago as a student and turned into my own special tree-house over the years. The worry has so far proved unfounded, but my love of translation has stuck. My translation work has ranged over both pre-modern and modern Arabic texts, and includes both fiction and philosophy.
As a translator of classical Arabic texts, my work has been especially fostered by the Library of Arabic Literature, which sponsored my translation of the anthology of literary-philosophical Q&A between the litterateur Abū Ḥayyān al-Tawḥīdī and the philosopher Abū ʿAlī Miskawayh. This book came out in 2019 under the title The Philosopher Responds.
My early experience translating modern fiction owes much to the magazine of Arabic-English literary translation, Banipal, and to the efforts of its tireless architects, Samuel Shimon and Margaret Obank. More recent experiences, such as my work as a judge for the International Prize for Arabic Fiction (in 2016/17) and for the Saif Ghobash Banipal Prize for Arabic Literary Translation (in 2018/19), proved immensely enriching, and helped expand my awareness of the landscape of modern Arabic literature. It was while judging the first prize that I came across a little gem of a novel called Sabiliyat by the Kuwaiti author Ismail Fahd Ismail. The novel was shortlisted for the prize, and while it didn't win, the next best tribute I could pay it was to translate it. The translation was published by Interlink Books in 2019 under the title The Old Woman and the River. More recently, I translated a sweet and uplifting children's book written by Hussain Al Mutawaa, I Dream of Being a Concrete Mixer, which won the Sheikh Zayed Book Award in Children's Literature in 2019.
On the shorter side, I have translated a number of short stories and novel extracts for the International Prize for Arabic Fictionand the Shaykh Zayed Book Award. This includes selections from Khaled al-Berry's IPAF-shortlisted An Oriental Dance (Raqṣa sharqiyya) (available here; a synopsis provided in collaboration with the author can be seen here) and Mansoura Ez Eldin's IPAF-shortlisted Beyond Paradise (Warā' al-firdaws) (available here). Both excerpts are included with kind permission of Thesis Contents Agency (Milan) which originally commissioned them. Other work, including translations of the IPAF prize winner Saud Alsanousi, the IPAF-shortlisted Lina Hawyan al-Hassan, and the SZBA prize winner Ahmad Al Qarmalawi, can be found on the website of Banipalmagazine. My extract from Jokha Alharthi's enchanting novel Women of the Moon (later translated as Celestial Bodies by Marilyn Booth), which won the Omani award for Best Novel in 2010, also appeared in Banipal, and is available here with their kind permission.
Some of my other translation work is still in draft form. This includes my full translation of The Ring of Sand (Khātim al-raml) by the Iraqi novelist Fu'ad al-Takarli, andof several chapters of the IPAF-shortlisted The Unfaithful Translator(Al-Mutarjim al-khā'in) by the Syrian authorFawwaz Haddad. You can read the first here and the second here. Although both translations were completed a long while ago, I would still welcome thoughts from omnivorous readers who don't insist on reading their novels in bound form.