The Qatari Forum for Authors hosted Samar al-Shishakli, writer and translation expert at the Ministry of Culture, as part of the second session of the 'Biography and Journey of a translator' initiative launched by the forum on June 6.
In the session, moderated by activist Maria Fernanda del Rio on social media and broadcast on Al-Multaqa YouTube channel, al-Shishakli spoke of her experience and areas of work.
Al-Shishakli said she had translated 29 works from Arabic into English and from English to Arabic. These include novels and books of thought, history, criticism, and sociology. The first one was titled 'From Modernity to Globalisation'.
Al-Shishakli is currently working on a book on astronomy, astronomical observation and its evolution, male and female workers, in addition to workers in astronomical observatories.
The book is set to be issued in the fall of this year.
She highlighted the fundamental skills a translator must possess, including linguistic skills of the mother and target languages, computer skills, translation applications, internet surfing skills for the sake of expounding phrases and terms, in addition to the correct use of all that might potentially hinder meaning comprehension.
The most important skill a translator should have is the passion for the profession, because it is one of the hardest professions and without passion for the same, no translator will be able to bear the workload, she said.
The translation expert added that one of the key responsibilities of a translator is to be the translator for all people who can count on him/her to perform the task entirely and not to let down those who have who assigned him/her the work. The translator must abide by the deadlines and the quality and level of translation, and the work must not be less creative than the text from which it was copied, she said.
Generally, the translator should be educated and well versed.
At the end of the session, she advised new translators to garner practical training and experience and not to look at it from a profit perspective.
A translator must self-train using dictionaries and internet sites, while surrounding themselves with experienced people, she added.
The Qatari Forum for Authors and the 'Biography and Journey of a translator' intends to turn the spotlight on important Qatari translators and residents of Qatar who have made significant contributions in the field of literary translation. It also aims to discuss important translation issues and challenges , in addition to stressing the requites to being a successful translator.