Should Authors Trust Their Literary Translators?

Bahaa Taher

Egyptian novelist Bahaa Taher made headlines when he filed a suit against the American University in Cairo (AUC) Press, citing financial issues due to an unfortunate translation.

Taher, who is fluent in English, is usually an advocate of his translators, including Humphrey Davies’ "Sunset Oasis," which received an International Prize for Arabic Fiction (IPAF), and Barbara Romaine's “Aunt Safiyya and the Monastery,” to which he has even contributed.

However, Taher states that, unlike previous experiences with his translators, he was never contacted by the translator of his 1985 novel “As Doha Said” and was pretty unhappy when the novel was published in London. “There were so many mistakes,” he said. After contacting the AUC Press, they didn’t see eye to eye: the publisher didn’t concede that there were many mistakes in the English text.

Read complete story and other examples of authors who were against the end results of their translators in the thorough article published by Egypt Independent.