Arabic-English Literary Translations
Having spent more than two decades in the Arab world, I have a keen sensitivity to the cultural nuances involved in undertaking Arabic-English literary translations. I form strong partnerships with authors, working closely with each one throughout the translation process to ensure that I convey his/her voice and message as faithfully and powerfully as I can to an English-speaking readership.
I especially love working on historical novels. I’ve always been drawn to true stories, both written and on the screen. For me, historical novels bring the past to life in a special way, so I consider it a privilege to be the voice for novelists who feel called to convey their messages through this medium.
Arabic-English Literary Translations
- Black Foam (رغوة سوداء) by Haji Jabir, published online, The Short Story Project.
- Cold White Sun (شمش بيضاء باردة) by Kafa Al-Zou’bi, in Excerpts from the 2016 Shortlist, The International Prize for Arabic Fiction.
- Hymns of Temptation (ترانيم الغواية) by Laila al-Atrash, in Banipal Magazine of Modern Arab Literature, No. 58—Spring 2017.
- The Second War of the Dog (حرب الكلب الثانية) by Ibrahim Nasrallah, in Banipal Magazine of Modern Arab Literature, No. 61—Spring 2018.
- Lovers, a Phonograph and Times (عشاق وفونوغراف وأزمنة) by Lutfiya al-Dulaimi, in Banipal Magazine of Modern Arab Literature, No. 62—Summar 2018.
- “Lost in Mecca,” a chapter from Maps of the Labyrinth (خرائط التيه) by Buthayna al-Isa, in Banipal Magazine of Modern Arab Literature, No. 70—Spring 2021, with introduction by Nancy Roberts.
- The Bag of Wheat (كيس القمح) by Kafa Al-Zou’bi, in Banipal Magazine of Modern Arab Literature, No. 66—Autumn/Winter 2019.
- The Tank (الدبابة) by Alia Mamdouh, in Banipal Magazine of Modern Arab Literature, No. 67—Spring 2020.
- Free Fall (سقوط حر) by Abeer Esber, in Banipal Magazine of Modern Arab Literature, No. 68—Summer 2020.
- To Love Life (أن تعشق الحياة) by Alawiya Sobh, in Banipal Magazine of Modern Arab Literature, No. 70—Spring 2021.
- “When Shakespeare Thought I Was Cleopatra,” by Ahlem Mostaghanemi, in Living Shakespeare: A Collection of Essays (London, The British Council, 2016).
- “Karim the Romantic: Bather of the Dead,” by Ziad Khadash.
- “Globalization,” by Suheil Kiwan.
- “Lucerne Tunnel,” by Khalil Nasif.
- “A Pleasant Countenance,” by Jan Dost.
Arabic-English Book Translations In Progress
Fatima’s Harbor is a poignant, skillfully crafted novel by Eritrean author Haji Jabir which exposes the plight of Eritrean refugees fleeing authoritarianism and corruption in Eritrea’s forced labor system. Commissioned by the author.
The Abyssinian Rimbaud is a historical novel centering around the controversial 19th-century French poet and adventurer Arthur Rimbaud, who spent the later years of his short life in Abyssinia, or present-day Ethiopia. Commissioned by the author.
“In addition to equal mastery of both Arabic and English, Roberts is punctual, focused, ever willing to accept comments and amendments, and tirelessly dedicated to seeing a text to completion through numerous drafts and revisions. Her professionalism, precision and expertise make her work as both a translator and an editor highly effective and successful.”
Reem Ghanayem, The Short Story Project
“When Nancy finished the translation of my book The Time of White Horses, I felt that the translated text was as close to me in the English as it had been in the Arabic, as though it had been written in my language.”
“In Nancy Roberts we have a translator who can understand the text in depth and convey both its meaning and its spirit in another language in record time. What more could a writer want?”
Haji Jabir, journalist and award-winning author of Black Foam