Does Translation Have the Power to Change the World?

In Discussion by Edward Nawotka

By Edward Nawotka

flags of the world

Israel and the Arab World . . . never the twain shall meet? Perhaps. But if anything has the power to change people’s minds, books do.

Israel and the Arab World…never the twain shall meet? Perhaps, but — as discussed in today’s lead story — literary translation between the two cultures will surely help each side understand the other better.

In 2003, a study by the U.N. Development Program noted that only 10,000 titles had been translated into Arabic during the past millennium (a situation that Kalima in Abu Dhabi is actively trying to rectify). My guess that is the number translated from, say Arabic into English or Hebrew, is likely about the same or even less.

So, do you not think that this lack of exchange of ideas contributed to some degree in political misunderstandings? Could, going forward translation have some unseen impact on politics? Do you think, as I believe (perhaps naively) that it has some power to help change the world for the better?

Let us know what you think in the comments.

About the Author

Edward Nawotka

A widely published critic and essayist, Edward Nawotka serves as a speaker, educator and consultant for institutions and businesses involved in the global publishing and content industries. He was also editor-in-chief of Publishing Perspectives since the launch of the publication in 2009 until January 2016.