At Bologna: Abu Dhabi International Translation Conference

In News by Porter Anderson

‘Children’s Literature: Language and Culture’ was the title of the Abu Dhabi International Translation Conference at the Bologna Book Fair.

A discussion during the Abu Dhabi Arabic Language Center Translation Conference at Bologna Children’s Book Fair. Image: ALC

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

Bin Tamim: ‘To Communicate Cultures to Children’
The 60th Bologna Children’s Book Fair is in its final day now (March 9), and the comments you hear both from the most seasoned and least experienced Bologna-goers center on how robust the footfall has been.

Indeed, when Bologna Book Plus staged two back-to-back panels on translation (Publishing Perspectives was glad to moderate one of them with a quartet of fine speakers), the “BBPlus Theater” was packed, with as many as 40 trade visitors standing or sitting on the floor to follow and engage in the conversation.

The word from the Abu Dhabi Arabic Language Center (ALC) is that its Abu Dhabi International Translation Conference—this year under the theme “Children’s Literature: Language and Culture”drew similarly strong response.

Staged on Thursday (March 8), this was the ninth iteration of the conference, which is under the direction of ALC chair Dr. Ali Bin Tamim, who is also the secretary-general of the Sheikh Zayed Book Award.

Set in BolognaFiere’s Overture Hall, the program explored the various challenges faced when translating children’s books, as well as solutions to address them, bringing together translators, authors, publishers, and institutions specializing in producing and translating children’s books.

Dr. Ali Bin Tamim

Bin Tamim said, “Translation has been one of the most powerful means of cultural communication throughout the ages, allowing cultures to influence one another.

“By organizing the Abu Dhabi International Translation Conference at the Bologna Children’s Book Fair, we establish lines of cultural communication to experts in writing and translating children’s books around the world, and facilitate the exchange of experiences about the best methods to communicate cultures to children through translation.

“This is also an ideal opportunity to highlight our efforts at the Abu Dhabi Arabic Language Center to promote the children’s book industry, enable translation to and from Arabic, and advance the presence of the Arabic language in local, regional, and international forums.”

‘Translation, Rewriting, and Literary Adaptation’

Saeed Hamdan Al Tunaiji, executive director of the Abu Dhabi Arabic Language Center, speaks to attendees at the translation conference after giving the welcoming address. Image: ALC

Among the topics taken up during the program:

  • “Who is responsible promotion of translation in children’s books and what are the motivating factors?”
  • “What have we lost in the field of translation, [as regards] the subtle difference between translation, rewriting, and literary adaptation?”

With the date of the program falling on International Women’s Day, the conference also discussed the challenges that women face in their careers as translators and in the field.

Another highlight was a survey of Arabic children’s books that are “traveling the world.”

Elena Pasoli

As we’ve reported from the fair, the 60th staging of this industry-facing show has broken its own record, with 1,456 exhibitors from some 90 countries.

Bologna’s director Elena Pasoli says, “That means we’re truly back to normal.

“In fact, in 2019, which had been our best year ever, we had 1450 exhibitors.”

At the Abu Dhabi Arabic Language Center Translation Conference at Bologna Children’s Book Fair. Image: ALC

More from Publishing Perspectives on the Abu Dhabi Arabic Language Centre is here, and more on the United Arab Emirates’ market is here. More on translation is here, and more on Arabic in the publishing world is here

More from Publishing Perspectives on Bologna Children’s Book Fair is here, more on Bologna Book Plus is here, more on rights trading in the international book publishing industry is here, our Rights Roundup series is here, more on children’s books is here, more on the Italian market is here, and more on world publishing’s trade shows and book fairs is here.

More of our coverage of the 60th anniversary edition of Bologna Children’s Book Fair:

Bologna’s 60th Edition Draws 28,894 Visitors
Hometown Hero: Bologna Illustrator Andrea Antinori Wins Big
International Women’s Day: PublisHer’s Bologna Stand
The Best Children’s Publishers Prizes of the Year at Bologna
At Bologna: Abu Dhabi International Translation Conference
Elena Pasoli and Jacks Thomas on the 60th Bologna Book Fair Opening
At Bologna: Spain’s Publishers Report Growing Children’s Exports
Nicholas Yatromanolakis on Bologna’s Market of Honor: ‘The Modern Face of Greece’
IPA’s Events Lineup at Bologna Children’s Book Fair
‘AI’ at Bologna: The Hair-Raising Topic of 2023?
At Bologna: PublisHer Will Have Its First Trade Show Stand
At Bologna: The ‘Taiwan Stories Market’ Program
Pre-Bologna Rights Roundup: ‘Buy Ukrainian Book Rights’
Children’s Rights Edition: A 16th Bologna Licensing Trade Fair/Kids
Bologna Book Fair Names Cross Media Award Winners
Bologna Focus: Italy’s €283 Million Children’s Book Market
Rights Edition: Bologna Book Plus’ Rights Programming
Bologna Book Fair: 2023 Ragazzi Awards
Bologna’s 60th Book Fair: Illustrators Exhibition Winners
Greece Is Bologna Book Plus’ First Market of Honor

About the Author

Porter Anderson

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Porter Anderson has been named International Trade Press Journalist of the Year in London Book Fair's International Excellence Awards. He is Editor-in-Chief of Publishing Perspectives. He formerly was Associate Editor for The FutureBook at London's The Bookseller. Anderson was for more than a decade a senior producer and anchor with, CNN International, and CNN USA. As an arts critic (Fellow, National Critics Institute), he was with The Village Voice, the Dallas Times Herald, and the Tampa Tribune, now the Tampa Bay Times. He co-founded The Hot Sheet, a newsletter for authors, which now is owned and operated by Jane Friedman.