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Petra Dünges

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Arabic Children's Literature, Translations from Arabic into German


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Last Revision: 12 January 2016

About my work

Titelbild: Mein neuer 
Freund, der Mond, von Walid Taher, Edition Orient, 2004 Mein neuer Freund, der Mond. Walid Taher.
© Edition Orient

I have been interested in Arabic children's and youth literature for many years. I have good contacts to Arab authors, illustrators and publishers and to German speaking publishers of children's literature. I am a member of the German association of literary translators Verband der Literaturübersetzer VdÜ, the Deutsch-Arabische Freundschaftsgesellschaft DAFG, the Deutsch-Jemenitische Gesellschaft DJG, and of the Association for Children's and Youth Literature Arbeitskreis für Jugendliteratur AKJ, which is the German Section of the International Board on Books for Young People IBBY.

I have published several articles on Arabic children's literature. Among the publishers are the influential German weekly ZEIT and the International Youth Library in Munich. The International Youth Library is the largest library for international children's and youth literature in the world. The Library prepares a travelling exhibition and a catalogue called "The White Ravens - An Annual Selection of International Children's and Youth Literature". This exhibition is presented at the Bologna Children's Book Fair and elsewhere. An annotated list of Arabic children's books is available from the International Youth Library.

In January 2011 my article on Arabic Children’s Literature Today: Determining Factors and Tendencies appeared at PMLA, the journal of the Modern Language Association of America. (Download of this article is restricted to institutions with a subscription of PMLA. Many universities in the USA and abroad have got the permission to download; if you do not have this permission, contact me, and I will send you the article.)
This article was used for example in the course Writing for Children by Yasmine Motawy, which took place in Spring 2012 at the Department of Rhetoric and Composition of The American University in Cairo.

I have worked for leading Arab publishing houses like The Arab Institute for Research and Publishing (Beirut and Amman) and Dar al-Shorouk (Cairo).

I am collecting Arabic literature for children and the youth in behalf of the Gutenberg Museum Mainz and the International Youth Library Munich.

My translations of Arabic children's books from authors such as Abdelwahab Elmessiri, Radschi Anait and Samah Idriss can be ordered by publishers interested in obtaining the rights.

I have excellent contacts to the Society for the Promotion of African, Asian and Latin American Literature, Gesellschaft zur Förderung der Literatur aus Afrika, Asien und Lateinamerika, LITPROM.
"The Society, registered as a non-profit association in Frankfurt, has set itself these objectives: to monitor literary trends and developments and select the best examples of creative writing from Africa, Asia and Latin America for translation into German, and to promote them in Germany, Switzerland and Austria by encouraging contacts between authors and publishers from the "Third World" and those in the German speaking region; to serve as an information centre and clearing house about literature from Africa, Asia and Latin America; to help establish and encourage a forum of debate about "Third World" literature." (from litprom.de)

In the publishing house Edition Orient in Berlin four bilingual Arabic-German children's books have appeared with my translations from Arabic into German. The stories are by Fauziya Raschid (Bahrain), Fuad Qa'ud (Egypt), Samira Schafik (=Samira Shafik) (Egypt), Walid Taher (Egypt) and Rania Zaghir (Lebanon). They are illustrated by Fuad al-Futaih (Yemen), Racelle Ishak (Lebanon), Ihab Schakir (=Ihab Shaker) (Egypt) and Walid Taher (Egypt). These books are suitable for Arab and German children alike and they are often used in classroom for German speaking learners of Arabic and for Arabic speaking learners of German. While they are primarily made for the amusement of children, they are useful for adult learners of foreign languages as well. For the prices in Germany, see my list Arabische Kinderbücher in deutscher Übersetzung (in German).

Ill.: Die Stadt, wo
man sagt: Das ist wunderschön!, Authors: Fuad al-Qa'ud, Fauziya Raschid, Ill.: Fuad al-Futaih,
Ihab Schakir , Edition Orient, Berlin Die Stadt, wo man sagt: "Das ist wunderschön!". Fuad Qa`ud, Fauziya Raschid, Ill.: Fuad al-Futaih, Ihab Schakir.
© Edition Orient

In May 2013, I gave the talk Nicht nur für Migrantenkinder: Zweisprachige Bilderbücher aus dem Arabischen(= Not only for children of migrants: Bilingual picture books translated from Arabic ) at the International Congress Multilinguism creates opportunities - continuity in education and training , which took place in Saarbrücken, Germany.

In November 2011, I took part in the workshop Umgang mit Kinderliteratur im Klassenzimmer: Fragen nach Mehrsprachigkeit und Übersetzungen (Children's Literature in the Classroom: Multilingualism and Translations) of the faculty of German Studies at the Unversity of Siegen. I gave a talk on Zweisprachige Bilderbücher aus dem Arabischen: Ein Bericht aus der Praxis einer Übersetzerin (Bilingual Picture Books, Translated from Arabic: Experiences of a Literary Translator). The workshop has been organized by Gesa Siebert-Ott, Jana Mikota, Sabine Planka (all from the Unversity of Siegen).

In June 2011, I took part in the workshop Mehrsprachigkeit und Kinderliteratur (Multilingualism and Children's Literature) at the University of Mannheim. I gave a talk on Zweisprachige Bilderbücher aus dem Arabischen: Ein Bericht aus der Praxis einer Übersetzerin (Bilingual Picture Books, Translated from Arabic: Experiences of a Literary Translator). The interdisciplinary workshop has been organized by Bettina Kümmerling-Meibauer (University of Tübingen), Ira Gawlitzek (University of Mannheim) and Rosemarie Tracy (University of Mannheim).

Ill.: Sonne und Mond: Wie aus Feinden Freunde wurden,
Autorin: Samira Schafik/ Illu.: Ihab Schakir, Verlag: Edition Orient, Berlin Sonne und Mond: Wie aus Feinden Freunde wurden.
Samira Schafik, Ill.: IhabSchakir.
© Edition Orient

In September 2010 in Marburg, I gave a talk on Arabic children`s literature and its translation into German at the 31. German Congress of Oriental Studies (DOT) in the section Arabic Language - Literary Translation. This talk was supported by the Deutscher Übersetzerfonds.

Apart from my interest in Arabic children's literature I am a Ph. D. student at the Institute for Computational Linguistics in the University of the Saarland in Saarbrücken. My research interests are now in the area of logic and formal semantics of natural language. I am currently working on my PhD thesis with the title On the Foundations of Temporal Discourse Representation Theory. My supervisors are Manfred Pinkal,Patrick Blackburn and Werner Saurer.

In 1989 I got a degree in physics from the faculty of physics of the Johannes Gutenberg Universität Mainz: I am Diplom-Physikerin. A Diplom is roughly comparable to a Master of Science. My diploma thesis was written in the group for Theoretical High Energy Physics (ThEP) (formerly called: Theoretical Elementary Particle Physics) at the chair of Prof. Martin Kretzschmar about a subject of mathematical physics, namely Der Dirac-Operator über semiriemannschen, raum- und zeitorientierbaren Spinmannigfaltigkeiten von beliebiger Dimension und beliebigem Index. I still like it.

And I have worked as data base administrator and system manager in a VAX cluster of 50 machines at HBM in Darmstadt. Today I am reduced to system management on my own computer, but i always like the adventure when I update to a new linux version.

I learned about the beauty of the Arabic language at the Seminar für Orientkunde at the Johannes Gutenberg Universität Mainz. My teacher was Prof. Heribert Horst, who advised me to read a lot. I am still following his advice...

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