New UK-UAE Partnership: Bloomsbury and Kalimat in Translation Exchange

In News by Porter Anderson

Both cultural exchange and commercial market presence are expected by Kalimat and Bloomsbury’s executives in an Arabic-English translation agreement.

By Porter Anderson, Editor-in-Chief | @Porter_Anderson

Exchange Opens With 10 Titles From Each Publisher

Bloomsbury logo soloClose on the heels of last month’s announcement of a cooperative venture between the UK’s Quarto and
the UAE’s Kalimat, another program—this time between Kalimat and Bloomsbury—aims to translate books for children and young adults between English and Arabic.

Bloomsbury Publishing and Kalimat Group describe their new collaboration as comprising a number of titles for translation each year.

Kalimat Group logoKalimat is to publish Bloomsbury titles in Arabic, while Bloomsbury is to reciprocate by publishing a variety of Kalimat Group titles in English.

The agreement is intended to give English and Arabic readers in both markets unprecedented access to their respective catalogs, while opening up new channels of intercultural dialogue.

Starting this year with 10 books from each publisher, the project is to involve books for children, teen fiction and YA novels. A key goal for each company, in business terms, is extended penetration into each other’s market. Prepared statements also refer to the value of cultural exchange involved and the “inter-community relations” that can be nurtured in such an arrangement.

Bodour Al Qasimi

Bodour Al Qasimi

Bodour Al Qasimi, Founder and CEO of Kalimat Group, is quoted in a prepared statement saying, “Our new partnership with Bloomsbury will be instrumental in spreading the UAE’s and the Arab world’s culture to as wide an audience of children and young adults as possible.

“We fully hope that this partnership will enable us to reach a greater number of readers and allow us to spread knowledge about our unique heritage to new markets.

“This agreement will also open up global culture to children in the Gulf region. By translating a range of Bloomsbury’s publications into Arabic, we’ll create a new channel for intercultural dialogue, bring Arab voices to the English-speaking market and help young people in our region better appreciate and understand societies outside their own.

“With Bloomsbury having such a renowned name in the international publishing sphere, there could be no better partner for such an important undertaking.”

Richard Charkin

Richard Charkin

Richard Charkin, Executive Director of Bloomsbury, is quoted in announcement materials saying:

“There is a greater need than ever for the transfer of cultural and intellectual information between languages.

“This venture between Kalimat in Sharjah and Bloomsbury throughout the English-speaking world is a way of bringing cultures together.

“We are excited and honoured to be developing this project together.”

Kalimat officials say that the Bloomsbury-Kalimat partnership complements that new arrangement with Quarto.

The partnership with Quarto will see those two entities forming a new imprint to publish and distribute Quarto titles throughout the Middle East and North Africa–a project that starts in early 2017.

On the other hand, the Bloomsbury arrangement exchanges only copyrights, with Bloomsbury titles being produced in Arabic and Kalimat titles in English.

Kalimat, itself, is a publisher of Arabic children’s books and has a portfolio of internationally-recognized authors and illustrators, along with a deep list of books highlighting traditional Arabic culture. The Kalimat Group, an umbrella entity, is aimed at innovative promotion of reading. Kalimat Group information for the news media says that the corporation also has a goal of providing a rewarding workplace, in order to attract top talent in the industry.

The Kalimat Group comprises Kalimat, the children’s publisher; Horouf, a digitally integrated educational initiative; and Rewayat, which specialises in chapter books targeting adults and young adults.


The United Arab Emirates and the United Kingdom are two of the seven regions spotlighted in Frankfurt Book Fair’s The Markets: Global Publishing Summit on October 18 at Buchmesse’s Business Club. Information on The Markets program is here.

About the Author

Porter Anderson

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Porter Anderson is Editor-in-Chief of Publishing Perspectives. He is also co-owner and editor with Jane Friedman of The Hot Sheet, the newsletter for trade and indie authors. He formerly was Associate Editor for The FutureBook, at London's The Bookseller. Anderson has also worked with CNN International, CNN.com, CNN USA, the Village Voice, the Dallas Times Herald, and other media.