Reviving Translation in the Arab World

December 10, 2014

Kalima, a non-profit initiative based in Abu Dhabi, funds the translation, publication, and distribution of high-quality works of classic and contemporary writing from other languages into Arabic.

Kalima-translated book by Alan GreenspanThe initiative was developed because few foreign works are translated into Arabic, producing a knowledge and cultural gap that Kalima aims to close. Kalima—which means “word” in Arabic—selects over 100 key titles of classic, contemporary and modern writing from around the world to be translated into Arabic.

Selections range from classics to children’s books to popular business texts.  They include works by Geoffrey Chaucer, Thomas Hobbes, Jacques Lacan, Nadine Gordimer, Astrid Lindgren (Pippi Longstocking), Alan Greenspan, Isaac Bashevis Singer, and Peter Drucker.

An aim of this initiative is to spread learning, understanding, and respect for literary traditions and cultures from around the world.

In 2008, Kalima was a sponsor of the National Book Festival, an annual literacy event in Washington, DC, sponsored by the Library of Congress and the White House. At the event, Americans could nominate favorite US titles for translation.