Goethe Institute awards German-Arabic Translation Prize to Samir Grees and Mahmoud Hassanein

Germersheim graduates receive prizes in the Established Translator and Young Translator categories


The 2014 German-Arabic Translation Prize has been awarded to two graduates from Faculty 06: Translation Studies, Linguistics, and Cultural Studies at Johannes Gutenberg University Mainz (JGU). Samir Grees received the prize awarded by the Goethe Institute in the Established Translator category. Grees gained his diploma at the Germersheim faculty of JGU in 1998. The award in the Young Translator category went to Mahmoud Hassanein, who is currently a doctoral candidate and research associate in the Intercultural German Studies work group at Germersheim. The award ceremony was hosted by the German ambassador, Hansjörg Haber, at the Goethe Institute in Cairo.

The German-Arabic Translation Prize was first awarded in 2010 at the Leipzig Book Fair. In 2014, the Goethe Institute brought the award ceremony to Egypt. The prize is awarded in recognition of outstanding translations of contemporary German literature into Arabic and is intended to provide support to translators in their role as cultural ambassadors. The prize is awarded every two years for the best translation of a text extract from a contemporary German-language literary work which has not yet been published in Arabic.

Samir Grees received the prize for his translation of an excerpt from David Wagner's novel "Leben". The Goethe Institute noted that the jury was especially impressed by the fact that the translation stood out from the other entries in that it closely reproduced the tone of the original and was characterized by a high degree of naturalness, realism, and readability. Grees was born in Cairo in 1962 where he studied German and then went on to gain his translation diploma at Mainz University. He now works for the language services division of the German Bundestag. He has published numerous translations of texts by distinguished authors and other complex works, such as "Die Klavierspielerin" (The Piano Teacher) by Elfriede Jelenik, "Der Kontrabass" (The Double Bass) by Patrick Süskind, "Montauk" by Max Frisch, and "Wittgensteins Neffe" (Wittgenstein's Nephew) by Thomas Bernhard.

Mahmoud Hassanein received the Young Translator Prize for his translation of an excerpt from Wolfgang Herrndorf's "Sand". In its assessment, the jury stated that his translation of this complex literary text and its sometimes difficult style was largely accurate while the translator had also managed to find consistent and readable solutions in Arabic, making for a highly effective translation. Mahmoud Hassanein was born in Cairo in 1982. He studied German and Arabic in Cairo and later Language, Culture, and Translation in Germersheim. Since the 2011/2012 winter semester, he has been working on his doctoral dissertation on the subject of "Human Rights in Translation". Among the works he has translated to date are "Das war der Hirbel" (That was Hirbel) by Peter Härtling, "Eine Woche voller Samstage" (A Week Full of Saturdays) by Paul Maar, "Krabat" by Ottfried Preußler, and, in cooperation with the Teatro Eskendria in Egypt and Schnawwl at the Mannheim National Theater, "Ein erster Schnitt: Ein Schauspiel nach der Tell-Legende" (A First Step: A Drama Based on Tell’s Legend). Hassanein participated in the 2012 ViceVersa: German-Arabic Translator Workshop at the Literary Colloquium Berlin and in the 2014 Kein Kinderspiel! Workshop for Translators of Young Adult German Literature at the Elsa Brändstrom Haus in Hamburg.