Arabic Translation Mentoring Programme

The Arabic Translation Mentoring Programme supports emerging Arabic<>English translators with a 9-month professional development programme.

In 2021, four emerging translators were given the chance develop their translation skills and professional knowledge.

Each mentee received four mentoring meetings from an experienced translator mentor; participated in peer-support forums; had access to two professional development sessions featuring expert guest speakers; and the opportunity to discuss their practice with writers. A bursary of £1300 supported the translators to complete the programme.

We are grateful to the British Council for their funding support of this opportunity.

Please note: this programme is no longer running. Please see our current projects page for further opportunities.


  • Addie Leak

  • Zein Sa'dedin

  • Mariam Naji

  • Ali Al-Jamri


  • Sawad Hussain

    Sawad Hussain mentored Addie Leak as part of our Arabic Translation Mentoring Programme.

    Sawad Hussain is an Arabic translator and litterateur who is passionate about bringing narratives from the African continent to wider audiences. She was co-editor of the Arabic-English portion of the award-winning Oxford Arabic Dictionary (2014). Her translations have been recognised by English PEN, the Anglo-Omani Society and the Palestine Book Awards, among others. She has run workshops introducing translation to students and adults under the auspices of Shadow Heroes, Africa Writes and Shubbak Festival. She has forthcoming translations from Fitzcarraldo Editions, MacLehose Press, and Restless Books. She holds an MA in Modern Arabic Literature from SOAS. Her Twitter handle is @sawadhussain.

  • Golan Haji

    Golan Haji mentored Zein Sa’dedin as part of our Arabic Translation Mentoring Programme.

    Golan Haji is a Syrian-Kurdish poet, essayist and translator with a postgraduate degree in pathologyHe lives in France. He has published four books of poems in Arabic: He Called Out Within The Darknesses (2004), Someone Sees You as a Monster (2008), Autumn, Here, is Magical and Vast (2013), Scale of Injury (2016). His translations include (among others) books by Mark Strand, Robert Louis Stevenson and Alberto Manguel. He also published Until The War, 2016, a book of prose based on interviews with Syrian women. 

  • Nermin Nizar

    Nermin Nizar mentored Mariam Naji as part of our Arabic Translation Mentoring Programme.

    Nermin Nizar is a writer, translator and cook. She is a member of a collaborative translation lab and a freelance translator who is currently working on creating an oral history archive of music created in Alexandria for the local audience. Her work in translation has included four novels, After a Funeral by Diana Athill, The Red Harvest by Dashiell Hammett, The Haunting of Hill House by Shirley Jackson and How the Garcia Girls Lost their Accent by Julia Alvarez. A fifth novel is to come out shortly in 2021. She has also translated and collaborated on the translation of several works of non-fiction, including works by Angela Davis and Serge Daney. She has also published fiction and is the chef and curator of a series of pop-up restaurants.

  • Katharine Halls

    Katharine Halls mentored Ali Al-Jamri as part of our Arabic Translation Mentoring Programme.

    Katharine Halls is an Arabic-to-English translator from Cardiff, Wales. She was awarded a 2021 PEN/Heim Translation Fund Grant to translate Haytham El-Wardany’s short story collection Things That Can’t Be Fixed. Her translation, with Adam Talib, of Raja Alem’s novel The Dove’s Necklace received the 2017 Sheikh Hamad Award and was shortlisted for the Saif Ghobash Banipal Prize. Her translations for the stage have been performed at the Royal Court and the Edinburgh Festival. 

Programme Consultant

Nariman Youssef

Nariman Youssef is a Cairo-born, London-based semi-freelance translator working between Arabic and English. She holds an MA in Translation Studies from the University of Edinburgh, part-time manages a translation team at the British Library, and runs and curates translation workshops with Shadow Heroes. Literary translations include Inaam Kachachi’s The American Granddaughter, Donia Kamal’s Cigarette No. 7, contributions in Words Without Borders, The Common, Banipal magazine, and poetry anthologies Beirut39 and The Hundred Years’ War.

Digital events from the programme

This project forms a legacy to the Tarjem: Arabic<>English Translation Workshop, Sharjah 2020


This was an opportunity for up to six mid-career Arabic-English and up to six English-Arabic translators to take part in a three-day developmental workshop focusing on literary translation. The workshops also involved a study visit to Sharjah in the United Arab Emirates between 12-16 February 2020.

The sessions were designed to:

  • Enhance practical skills of professionals working in Arabic-English/English-Arabic translation.
  • Improve awareness of opportunities for translators working in this area, offering advice for continuing professional development.
  • Forge and maintain networks amongst translators, publishers and other literary professionals
  • Explore Sharjah as a translation hub in the region.

The workshops included professional development seminars, practical translation sessions, networking opportunities, and featured expert guest speakers from publishing and translation from the UK, the UAE and across the Arab World.

Produced by New Writing North with funding from the British Council

Photography by The Cool-Box Studio © British Council