Prof. Mona Baker Talks to IUG MA Students about Translation in Times of Crisis

21 - Dec - 2020
Professor Mona Baker gave an online talk، entitled “The Temporal and Spatial Dynamics of Translation in Times of Political Conflict” to IUG MA translation students. The talk was hosted and organised by Dr. Refaat Alareer to his MA Literary Translation students and was attended by several staff members and about 50 current and former students. 

Prof. Mona Baker is an Egyptian British scholar, the founder of St. Jerome Publishing and the international journal The Translator. As a researcher, Prof. Baker is an expert in translation and conflict, ethics and translation, the application of narrative theory to translation and interpretation, activist communities in translation and has published extensively in these areas. 
Prof. Baker commenced the session by introducing the term “temporality” as a fundamental aspect of narrating and moralizing the world. She discussed the challenges of temporal and spatial considerations that affect the quality of translation in times of conflicts referring to her research and studies of the Egyptian revolution. Furthermore, she discussed some technical obstacles that face subtitlers/translators mainly those who report on demonstrations via social media.
Prof. Baker pointed out that temporality still provides resources for revisiting the past, coping with the present and envisioning the future where the past remains relevant and can become a source of empowering terminology. Finally, she stated that translation studies and translators can contribute productively to the process through critical reflection on their own location in and impact on time and space.
Dr Alareer, the Assistant Professor of comparative literature at IUG’s English Department, thanked Professor Baker for accepting the invitation to talk to his MA students. “She is a hard-core supporter of Palestine and always spearheaded the BDS call to boycott Israel academically,” he introduced Prof. Baker. Dr. Alareer found particularly interesting the idea presented by Prof. Baker that translation could change in time and in place.
Students, who lively participated during the lecture, expressed their gratitude towards Dr Mona. “I have always heard about you and studied your books in my BA and MA translation classes,” said Nour Elborno, an MA student at IUG, “and it feels amazing to finally meet you.” Enas Fares, another MA student, brought the dialect and standard language question to the conversation. Other students participated and asked Prof. Baker about her papers which they have studied before, and discussed some questions regarding translation and the Palestinian conflict proper.

Dr Nazmi Masri, Associate Professor of Linguistics at IUG's English Department, expressed his profound gratitude to Prof. Mona for the informative lecture and serious discussions it raised, and for her continued support to Palestine and cooperation with IUG. Dr. Almasri invited IUG students to do more research into the issues raised by Prof. Baker from a Palestinian perspective. Dr Ayman Elhallaq, an Assistant Professor of English literature at IUG, thanked Dr Baker and referred to the mutual interest of the aspect of temporality for both translation studies and literary criticism.

Dr Mahmoud Alhirthani, an Associate Professor of translation at al-Aqsa University of Gaza, thanked Dr Refaat Alareer for hosting the session and Dr Mona Baker for the interesting issues she discussed, emphasising the importance of bringing the Arabic culture and terminology to the discussion.
Other Faculty members of the English Department at IUG, especially Dr. Mahmoud Altarabin and Dr. Mohammed Alhaj Ahmed, attended the talk and contributed to the discussions.
Dr. Alareer thanked the students and the guest for helping the course succeed despite the current circumstances in the Gaza Strip due to the coronavirus pandemic lockdown. At the end of the session that lasted 120 minutes, the students expressed their gratitude to Prof. Baker for her time and valuable insights.