During the Islamic Golden Age, from the 8th century to the 13th century AD, the Arab world was a center of learning and philosophy. It was also a center of translation. In Baghdad, scholars worked furiously to translate Greek, Persian and Indian texts into Arabic for the library of the House of Wisdom, preserving knowledge that would have otherwise been lost to time.
But now, according to MediaLine.org, the Arab world may have a translation problem. Medialine quotes a study by the UN that found that only 10,000 books have been translated from other languages into Arabic in the past 1,000 years. That’s an average of about 10 books a year, although in 2003, which is when the most recent data is from, there were about 330 books translated.
Arabic publishers and governments alike are taking steps to try and change this. For example, the UAE just wound up a government-sponsored international book fair, and both Dubai and Abu Dhabi have funded government initiatives to increase the amount of translated material available. Read more