The Iraqi Ministry of Culture will improve the skills of Iraqi translators by sending them to training courses throughout the world, the ministry announced Tuesday (June 29th).
The plan aims to improve communication between Iraq and foreign countries by opening economic and political channels using trained translators employed by Iraqi ministries.
"The ministry is trying to intensify efforts to get Iraq back to the path of world translation by developing the level of Iraqi translators and supplying international libraries with Iraqi books and supplying Iraqi libraries with international books," Minister of Culture Maher al-Hadithi said during the First International Conference on Translation in Baghdad.
Arab and foreign researchers, as well as many Iraqi officials and translators, attended the conference.
"The conference represents the first step in developing the culture of translation in Iraq after a 40-year disconnect from the world because of the policies of the former regime and security events that took place in Iraq after 2003," al-Hadithi said.
Deputy Minister of Culture Fawzi al-Atrushi said, "Restrictions imposed by the former regime on translators, and the absence of communication between Iraq and the outer world over the past decades, have negatively affected the level of Iraqi translators compared to Arab and foreign translators."
Al-Atrushi said the ministry is holding seminars to improve translation skills in Arabic, Kurdish, Turkmen, and Syriac. Participants at the seminars discuss ways to improve translation and introduce new curriculum.
Nuhad al-Dulaimi, a professor at the University of Baghdad, said Iraq needs to improve translators' skills so Iraq can share its ideas and products with the international community.
"Iraq's economic openness, world companies' interest in investing in Iraq, and the opening of foreign embassies in Baghdad make it important to develop the level of translation in the country," al-Dulaimi said.
Alaa Abu al-Hasan Ismail, director of Dar al-Maamoun Translation and Publishing House, said the conference "carries a message to the world confirming that Iraq has recovered its health in the field of translation."
Ismail said Dar al-Maamoun is working with the Ministry of Culture to involve Iraqi translators in training courses in countries throughout the world.
Ismail also called on the government to "raise translators' salaries and provide moral support for them to improve translation in Iraq".
Anwar Ibrahim, an English language translator, said the ministry's plan will not just benefit the government.
"If this plan is taken care of, Iraqi citizens and academic researchers will not suffer from trying to obtain sources and translate them, given that there will be international books, studies, and research translated in a professional and excellent way," he said.
"It is also an opportunity for Iraqis get acquainted with the latest scientific developments and innovations, and familiarize the world with Iraqi traditions, habits, and civilization," Ibrahim said.