Under the title of “ Translation: The Start of the Story..”, the Translation and Languages Department at Al Maaref University, in cooperation with the Arab Translators Association and sponsored by the Lebanese Library-“Nasheroun”, launched the "Al Maaref University First Award for Translation” on Thursday, February 1, 2018.
The University President, Professor Ali Alaeddine, attended the launching ceremony with a group of stakeholders. These were MU members of the academics and administrations, university students, secondary school’s directors or their representatives (Hassan Qassir High School, Al Kawthar High School, Janatul Al-Talabat School for Girls, Al-Mahdi School, Lycee Patriot, Gubairy Third Secondary School for Girls). As well, diversified representatives of associations and institutions of different interests joined the event. These were the Islamic Religious Education Association, the Afaq Foundation, the Awal Center, Al Manar TV, Al-Sirat Channel, Ittihad Center, and a group of professors, language coordinators and bespoken professional translators.
To be organized annually, the annual prize aims at encouraging secondary school students to take care of the Arabic language, and foreign languages and strive for excellence and creativity in them. The competition highlights the role of translation in defining the authenticity of Arab culture and the importance of knowing the other within a framework of dialogue and mutual respect. By this, those distinguished linguistically are encouraged to specialize in the field of translation.
Following the national anthem and the recitation of verses from the Holy Quran, Mrs. Zeinab Anis Jaber, the Head of the Translation and Languages Department at the MU University, welcomed the Secretary-General of the Union of Arab Translators, Dr. Bassam Baraka, and the President of the Dictionaries Unit in Library of Lebanon- Nasheroun, Dr. George Abdul-Masih. She pointed out that "the translation weaves into the folds of our daily lives against our wills, without permission, ‘stealing’ those threads that weave for us thousands of stories. No story is but a translation." Mrs. Jaber considered that translation "is a translation of feelings, emotions, and words, which all make the form and content of life". She added, “with the launch of this first annual award for translation, Al Maaref University would have begun a new story for the Department of Translation and Languages.”
The Secretary-General of the Union of Arab Translators, Dr. Bassam Baraka, delivered a speech in which he stressed that "translation begins at the time we choose what we want to translate, and when we intend to manage what we translate in our daily and scientific life." He stressed that "the translation activity must be linked to immunization of Arab identity, and the process of supporting its foundations and consolidating our sense of belonging to it." Dr. Baraka congratulated Al Maaref University’s initiative to launch an annual prize for translation, considering that "every actor in the field of science and knowledge must give this initiative all its attention and appreciation from those in teaching and professional practice or those involved in the theoretical field development and in supporting the provisions of rewarding schemes.”
In turn, Dr. George Abdel-Masih, the Head of the Department of Dictionaries and Encyclopedias in the Library of Lebanon – Nasheroun, considered that "translation in Arabic does not mean the transfer from language to language, but rather, as the Arabic meaning denotes, it means explanation, interpretation, and exegetic clarification as a premise for discharging the function of transfering meaning”, noting that " tranfering meaning may be a necessity, including explanation, within the same language as many of the words that we count Arabic is the result of borrowing from other languages such as Persian and Greek.”
After that, Mrs. Jaber presented a detailed explanation of the prize, where she and both keynote speakers, Dr. Baraka and Dr. Abdel-Masih, answered the questions of the attendees. In conclusion, the University President, Professor Alaeddine, presented a trophy for each of the two keynote guests as a token of thanks and appreciation.