26 Mar 2013
I was honored to have been the third scholar-in-residence invited to Cairo under the House of Translation Series. The House of Translation is a joint collaborative initiative between the National Center for Translation of the Ministry of Culture in Egypt and the Center for Translation Studies at The American University in Cairo.
This two week run consisted in two public lectures and an intensive workshop with 16 post-graduate students of translation studies. The seminar students were chosen from among almost 60 applicants, so represented the best and brightest of the new generation of Egyptian translators and scholars.
In terms of background, the House of Translation was launched in October 2011, conceived as a translator-in-residence program that hosts distinguished translators, specialists in translation studies, and researchers to conduct lectures and workshops as well as present work-in-progress that will enhance innovative translation projects linking various cultural achievements and legacies.
The first cycle at The House of Translation took place in February, 2012 and was focused on Translation Studies and Theory. The Inaugural lectures and workshop were by Professor Michael Cronin, Senior Lecturer in the School of Applied Language and Intercultural Studies and Dean of the Joint Faculty of Humanities, Dublin City University. The second cycle at The House of Translation took place in June, 2012 and was focused on Arabic and International Organizations. The lectures and workshop were conducted by Mr. Mohammed El-Kholy, distinguished senior translator at the Arabic Translation Service at the United Nations.
The focus on my talks and workshops was Translation and Social Media.
Given the centrality of social media during the Egyptian Revolution and the continuing Egyptian transition, this area of study drew a great deal of interest. And, as if to emphasize this point, we had to postpone my talks due to the orchestrated violence against protestors in Cairo in early December 2012.
As Dr. Samia Mehrez, my host and the driving force behind the House of Translation series, framed my lectures and workshops:
"I believe that our choice of focus on social media and translation could not have been more timely given the continuing and increasing impact of social media on our daily lives especially in the context of the Arab Uprisings. There is no doubt that the rapid adoption of social publishing tools in the Arab World has created new venues for cultural creativity and political debate with profound implications for the linguistic landscape. The creative use of language, including the growing use of vernacular variants of Arabic and fluid patterns of code switching between Arabic and other languages, raises questions about how political and cultural change in the region can be understood and engaged with by researchers, policy makers, media practitioners and educationalists around the world. To date there has been no significant effort to facilitate social media translation in ways that put the translator at the center of the interaction and that integrate seamlessly with leading social media services."
I have to note a special thanks to the wonderful students in the workshop, I gained far more from them than they did from me, I am sure. I will update this post with a link to another post on the talks themselves.