Start of the 2018 edition of the Sheikh Hamad Award for Translation and International Understanding
From Bayt al-Hikma (House of Wisdom) to Madrasat Al-Alsun (School of Languages), the translation was the window of Arab culture to the world, through which knowledge was sought wherever it was found. The books were translated into Arabic in various fields: from the wisdom of India and the heritage of Persia in the East to the Greece philosophy in the West. The translation process in our Arab and Islamic culture was characterized by the encouragement of translators by celebrating and acknowledging their important cognitive role.
In a world torn apart by divisions, as we are witnessing today, the role of translation comes as a bridge of understanding between the peoples and as a means of cross-fertilization of cultures. The translator's message in times of conflict becomes even more important. Translation becomes a common language in which misunderstandings disappear and the boundaries of illusion constructed by self-sufficiency and the quest for opponents are meant to fade.
In recognition of today’s role of translation in promoting peace and spreading knowledge, and the contribution of translators in bringing cultures closer, the Sheikh Hamad Award for Translation and International Understanding was established in Doha, Qatar, in 2015 as a global award supervised by a Board of Trustees, a Steering Committee and independent judging panels.
In 2017, the Sheikh Hamad Prize for Translation and International Understanding has been expanded. A category was added in order to include five Oriental languages, namely Chinese, Japanese, Persian, Urdu and Malay, in recognition of the translation’s achievements between the Arabic language and these five languages.
Since the first year, the Award has encouraged translation from and into Arabic in more than one language; an international language is adopted each year alongside English. The Turkish language was chosen the first year, followed by Spanish the second year and French the third year. For the 2018 edition, German was selected as the second language, thus reflecting the centrality of cultural relations between the Arab countries and Germany as well as the leading role played by the translation between the two languages to develop these ties.
In a continuous effort to enhance exchange and communication between the Arab culture and the world's cultures, the award has drawn attention in the 2018 edition on five new languages: Italian, Russian, Japanese, Bosnian and Swahili.
The total value of the award is two million (US$2,000,000) US Dollars, divided into three categories: Translation Prizes (US$800,000), Achievement Prizes (US$1,000,000), and prize for International Understanding (US$200,000).
The First Category: Translation Prizes, subdivided into the following:
Translation from Arabic into English
Translation from English into Arabic
Translation from Arabic into German
Translation from German into Arabic
The winner of the first prize in this category is awarded (US$100.000), the second (US$60.000) and the third (US$40.000).
The Second Category: Achievement Prizes, awarded to translations from Arabic into the 5 languages selected annually and from these languages into Arabic. The value of each one of these awards is maximum (US$100.000). The languages of the 2018 edition are: Italian, Russian, Japanese, Bosnian and Swahili.
The Third Category: Prize for International Understanding (US$200.000), awarded to individual(s) and/or institution(s) with substantive contribution to building a culture of peace and promoting international understanding.