The Iraqi Ministry of Culture is gearing up for the second Baghdad International Translation Conference, to be held on November 6th.
The four-day conference will take place at the Mansour Melia Hotel in the centre of Baghdad and will be organised by the ministry through the Dar al-Maamoun Translation and Publishing House, to ensure the success of this important event, according to ministry spokesperson Abdul Qader Saadi al-Jumaili.
Al-Jumaili told Mawtani that the conference "will address several themes [and will feature] discussions and intense deliberations by the participants", complementing the first Baghdad Translation Conference, which was held in June 2010.
"These themes will include the important role and influence of translation in closing the gap between nations, as well as improving the status [of translation] and broadening its horizons to include all intellectual, scientific and literary productions," al-Jumaili said.
The conference will also address "the need to train translators, develop their skills and hone their abilities", he added.
"By sponsoring such a cultural forum, the ministry seeks to benefit from ideas, experiences and international expertise to support translation at the national level, overcome challenges that obstruct its progress and develop translation in a way that would enrich the Iraqi cultural arena," al-Jumaili said.
"We have formed several preparatory committees, including an academic committee to review and evaluate the research papers that will be submitted to the conference," he added. "These committees include well-known professors, intellectuals, translators and academics."
Al-Jumaili said a number of research papers and studies by Iraqis, and others from foreign countries such as France, Russia, Britain and Germany, have already been submitted. "We are waiting to receive more papers during the coming weeks," he added.
"Invitations to participate in the conference have been sent out to a number of Arab and foreign researchers. The event will also be open to their Iraqi peers and to all those concerned with issues of culture, literature, language, journalism and art in the country," he said.
Al-Jumaili said conference organisers will deliver prizes to the most outstanding research papers and studies, as well as honorary certificates to the pioneers of translation in Iraq and the world in appreciation of their contributions to the field.
Tariq al-Obaidi, director of media relations at Dar al-Maamoun, told Mawtani that "the second translation conference stems from the ministry's keenness on the need to communicate and interact with the world cultures".
Al-Obaidi told Mawtani that beside the academic committee, there is a committee under his chairmanship that has been busy printing and sending out invitations in preparation for the conference.
They are also issuing ID cards for participants, creating posters, signs and brochures as well as handling other organisational and co-ordination matters, he added.
"There is also a media committee that will publish a newsletter throughout the event to publicise the conference programme, activities, research and working papers presented," he added. "Furthermore, there is a committee for translation and interpretation."
Ali al-Shalah, chairman of the Iraqi parliament's culture and media committee, told Mawtani he hopes the conference will lead to "practical results, which could help create a positive movement that would drive the tempo of translation in Iraq forward, because of the importance of this field in keeping pace with global progress".
Al-Shalah said the conference needs to focus on reviving translation between Arabic and native languages such as Kurdish, Turkoman and Assyrian, and not just focus on translation between Arabic and other world languages.