Translators Associations Global: ATIDA
"Getting the peoples of the world to know one another"
The quote used as a title is ATIDA’s mission. The Arabic Translation and Intercultural Dialogue Association is the gathering point of “highly motivated translators” from and to Arabic and people who are interested in intercultural dialogue. Although it focuses on the Arabic language, this translators association is actually based in Geneva, Switzerland.
Most members of ATIDA are professional translators who work either as freelancers or for translation agencies. However, there is also a considerable community of students of translation and languages as well as “well established and widely published scholars” who are engaged in research of fields like translation and intercultural dialogue. Furthermore, the translation association also includes people who for one reason or another have an interest in intercultural dialogue.
For Abdallah Amid, president of the Arabic translators association, even though the translation of the language “as a professional activity has recorded unprecedented growth in the last two decades, it is unfortunate that translators have remained divided, satisfied with looking for individual solutions, and jealously protective of their comfort zones”. Mr Amid says that not many have been able to “establish a real and effective professional network capable of upgrading their skills and defending their interests”. The president of the translation association takes it even further by saying that “few seem to be aware of the vital role and importance of translation and of both internal and intercultural dialogue”. There isn’t enough literature on the subject and the books or writings that exist are “sporadic and incoherent”.
It is with the mission to fill in the gap left by this insufficiency that ATIDA exists. Inside the organisation, a “rainbow of cultures and people” are able to share aspirations, hopes and expertise, keeping a vision in mind: “to establish, disseminate and mainstream a culture of dialogue and peaceful engagement in a win-win environment”.
The Arab translators association seeks to enrich its platform through the exchange of ideas, perspectives and outlooks. All “serious and constructive contributions” are welcome. ATIDA is eager to spare no effort in overcoming present difficulties and also to establish healthy relations with all relevant institutions, but also individuals from all over the world who are, like ATIDA, seeking intercultural dialogue in the world of translation.
The organisation encourages students in particular to provide them with feedback – suggestions, ideas, etc. – as well as make the questions their lecturers haven’t answered.
ATIDA is a non-political, non-ideological and non-religious translation association. It is not a forum and it does not admit personal attacks, libel and / or propaganda. Even if its members firmly believe in freedom of expression, they also believe that “such a right should be exercised within the confines of respect for others, tolerance and peaceful dialogue”.
The Arab translators association “operates fully in accordance with all pertinent laws”. Its level of professional ethics is set high. It works for the promotion of its members and for their recognition within society, always in the defence of their interests. ATIDA is committed to extending the Arabic language and culture – as well as other cultures – to a large audience. It wishes to foment a contribution given by the Arabic civilisation to the universal public.
Improvement of working conditions
At the same time as it contributes towards strengthening the role of translation and languages in cultural dialogue, ATIDA wishes to harness the resources of speakers of Arabic who work in the field, all around the world, enhancing their professional skills, capacities and role. The organisation based in Geneva isn’t content with less than “starting a global renaissance”.
With the intention of publishing the results, ATIDA wants to create a free space for dialogue among translators and linguists but also including everyone interested in cultural dialogue. The exchange of views and perspectives is always a priority.
For this purpose, the Arabic translators association wishes to establish channels of communication with educational institutions – for example universities and think tanks – in the Arab world but also around the globe in order to explore areas of cooperation. ATIDA organises and participates in translation training events and workshops, as well as scientific, cultural and professional meetings, conferences and symposia. It also published periodicals and newsletters. A database of available professionals has been compiled by the organisation.
Keep in mind that Arabic is spoken by more than 300 million people around the world.
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