Translation for Dialogue | Tunis



Adrian Grima will be giving a talk on literary translation as a tool for cultural dialogue and integration at a conference on “Translation for Dialogue” organized by the Anna Lindh Foundation at the B’Chira Art Center in Tunis. Inspired by the Iraqi poet and academic Sinan Antoon, the talk on “The Text in Mourning” starts with a reflection on the literary text as a text in mourning until it is translated, because translation gives the original text an afterlife. It is also, perhaps, the deepest possible reading of the original.

sinan antoon.jpeg
Sinan Antoon

“Every text remains in mourning,” says Sinan Antoon, “until it is translated.” What struck him was “the anthropomorphization of untranslated texts. I imagined them wearing black and waiting in silence and sorrow for a translator to put an end to their mourning. They would then, I imagined, don the dizzyingly colourful and elaborate costumes bestowed on them by their new language.”

In his presentation, Adrian Grima will be referring to the work done by Inizjamed through the Malta Mediterranean Literature Festival and exploring what literary translation can offer to meaningful human exchange. The presentation includes a clip of Roger West talking about the Malta LAF Literary Translation Workshop, another clip of Samantha Barendson reading her poem “Écrire” with Marc Nair reading his translation of it into English, and photographs of the 2016 edition of the festival by the anthropologist Virginia Monteforte.

I’ve been coming to this festival for four years now. One of the strengths, one of the real strengths of this festival, is the collaboration between the poets, the reading of each other’s work in various languages of the Mediterranean and around, and that strength comes from the translation workshops that happen just before the festival where poets get together and talk about themselves, their work and what poetry means to them. And from that sharing of knowledge and understanding, the sharing of texts, comes a real collaboration. For me, being part of the translation workshop this year was a real privilege because it gave me the opportunity to get deeper and deeper into some of the texts I was reading. And with each rereading, I got a deeper and deeper meaning. The translation of poetry into various languages is an important and essential part of poetry. Jacques Derrida said that every text is in mourning until it’s translated. And with these translation workshops here, it’s bringing a whole lot of texts out of mourning and into a celebration of life.

Roger West (2016)

His talk will be part of a session on “Translation and Mobility of Artworks for cultural understanding and Dialogue” moderated by Daniel Gorman of the Shubbak Festival. The debate will highlight the significance of translation as a tool for dialogue and development. A mandate that allows access for artworks to other cultures across different spaces for mutual understanding. The value of cooperation and exchange of knowledge for intercultural Dialogue. The other speakers are Lucienne d’Alençon of the Institut français d’Egypte who will talk about a project on the publication of Comics in various Arab Mediterranean countries and Hatem Salama from MitOst- Tandem, who will talk about knowledge exchange and Euromed cooperation.



A visibility Event: Launching the Translation Intercultural Platform and Creating Partnerships and Networking, 16, 17 December 2017, Tunis, Tunisia

During 2 days, the Anna Lindh Foundation will hold a visibility event in order to present a space to showcase existing initiatives and ensure enhanced networking in this domain. The Conference will also contribute to a new digital resource centre to be launched by the Foundation as part of its forthcoming multi-annual programme phase.

It will involve a number of talks and debates to advocate for the importance of Translation to Intercultural communication and dialogue.

The Anna Lindh Foundation is covering the expenses of inviting up to 70 participants; numerous media representatives, cultural actors, prominent writers and novelists, policy makers, government institutions, donors and different actors from the whole chain of translation in the region.

The visibility event will offer a space for advocacy and debate on issues of concern in the field of Translation. It will create a networking space for partnerships between all actors and institutions so as to bring innovative initiatives forward. Meantime it will be a highlight event to present and discuss the online platform and to share its services to a wide public/ participating.

The visibility event format will include:

  • Public sessions involving well-known actors and associations who have contributed to intercultural dialogue throughout translations and their works.
  • Plenary sessions and interactive workshops and debates involving active discussions with the participants for the development of the programme.
  • Networking space for partnerships.
  • A local cultural activity to be defined/ Live performance (based on multilingualism)


In response

to the current socio cultural challenges affecting the Euromed region, there is a situation that imposes the need to overcome misunderstandings and create a positive dialogue. The rise of the extremism, the increasing migration waves and the refugee crises among the more urgent, makes the intercultural communication and the translation a necessary requirement.

Translation is a transversal activity that is present in our daily life to an extent we are often no aware of. Explicit translation is part of daily communication and of artistic and cultural expressions. Youth, audience and creators are relevant actors in this regard.

Translation: Builds Bridges of Dialogue. The current reality through misunderstanding and fear of both sides of the Mediterranean, with the extremism, migration waves and refugee crises. Foster cultural diversity and translation as a tool to promote shared values and deconstruct stereotypes and allow citizens from the region to deal and appreciate different cultural identities, social values and behaviors. Learning to understand another language, open a window to another cultural world. Fighting the clash of ignorance among youth of the north as to the south exploited today as fuel behavior through misunderstanding and fear.

Value of the Multilingualism in Europe. In Europe Multilingualism’s value for translation is fundamental to facilitate communication, cultural and societal exchanges by promoting and safeguarding language identity. Bridges are built through institutional initiatives and programmes; each bridge can be diversified, and yet they are all united by a common understanding of values, including that of multilingualism, which also speaks through translators and interpreters.


The Anna Lindh Foundation

has the strategic intent to invest in building a road map for translation for dialogue, with a focus on advocating for the central role of translation as instrument in the promotion of intercultural dialogue across the Euro Mediterranean region.

To respond to the current socio cultural challenges affecting the EuroMed region, the Anna Lindh Foundation during the Slovenia conference last June 2016 has explored and presented 3 main approaches that will be part of a long term strategy aiming to establish a permanent programme supporting translations for dialogue at Euro Mediterranean level. The following recommendations constitutes the bases for the Translation for Dialogue Road Map:

  • To establish a permanent interactive platform in the field of translation for dialogue.
  • To organize visibility events to advocate the value of translation.
  • To create a Fund supporting translation as a mean for intercultural dialogue in the Euro-Med area.

During the year 2017, the Anna Lindh foundation will consolidate its efforts in creating and designing the permanent interactive platform of Translation.

Strategic aim, Mid and long term objectives:

By focusing on Translation in the Mediterranean, the Anna Lindh Foundation in line with its overall mission, aims at:

General Aim:

\To advocate for the importance of Translation as a crucial instrument for sustaining intercultural dialogue and enrich cultural diversity in the region and to promote institutional and programming tools to achieve these objectives.

Mid and Long Term-Objectives:

  • To encourage and facilitate the mobility of knowledge, ideas and actors throughout the region.
  • To catalyze, promote and expand a cooperative, innovative and interactive network between all the different actors working in the translation chain.
  • To mobilize and channel resources and funding through an ad hoc financial EuroMed instrument/fund.
  • To translate culture and its diversity and to encourage the involvement of youth and innovation within the translation field.
  • To showcase and highlight on the good practices already exist in the field through a continuous support to Translation and through and visibility actions.

About “Translation for Dialogue Platform”

The Creation and launching of the platform: A creation and design of an online web-based interactive platform in the field of translation for dialogue. It will be a one stop shop for capacity building opportunities, paving for partnership and networking also provide the space for research and development. The platform will reinforce the network of actors present in the chain of translation and with an interest in intercultural dialogue.

Primarily, it will focus on promoting intercultural dialogue as a primary goal, using innovative technology to reach-out for new audience and young translators (youth component).



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