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Saudi Arabia and Translating Cultures

This panel will explore the intersection of translation and cultural studies, delving into the \"cultural turn\" that introduced the concept of translating cultures by considering both text and context as essential objects of study. Although it is still an emerging field, the translation of cultures already wields significant influence over translation theory and extends to domains within the humanities, social sciences, and international relations.

The view of translation as not only a linguistic transfer but also a transformative cultural experience—as Homi Bhabha, Gayatri Spivak, and others have theorized it—will also be central to the panel’s discussion. Examining the idea that translations can foster cultural dialogues between nations, the panel will debate the implications of translating Saudi Arabia for Western audiences, examining the very translatability of the Kingdom on a global platform. Key questions will include: What is the status of Saudi literature in world literature and what is contributing to its underrepresentation? How have external factors limited the literary and cultural translations of Saudi authors? Can presentations of Saudi arts and cultural activities given in international relations contexts be said to function as cultural translations, and if so, how effectively do they represent the diversity of Saudi culture? Can a nation be best translated by showcasing its literary and cultural achievements or by deploying diverse engagement tools to capture the breadth of its cultural richness?

The panel’s latter segment will address the different translation efforts in the last three decades along with the paradoxical scarcity of translated Saudi literary texts in comparison to the abundant flow of Western texts rendered in Arabic. Despite the Kingdom’s expanding translation landscape, its literary works, especially those by social scientists and critics, remain underrepresented. This disparity offers fragmented insight



Ludwig-Erhard-Anlage 1
60327 Frankfurt am Main

Literature, Publishing & Translation Commission
Free access


Saudi Arabia and Translating Cultures Dr. Moneera Al-Ghadeer and Dr. Abdul Aziz Alsebail

Dr. Moneera Al-Ghadeer, Saudi Scholar taught at Harvard University and Columbia University Dr. Abdul Aziz Alsebail, the secretary-general of King Faisal Prize