The Objective

The purpose of the Translated Books Database is to compile all books that have been translated from original Arabic into other languages from 1979 to the present. The database will then be available for analysis using a wide array of data visualizations and downloadable files. This database will demonstrate the impact translation has on knowledge of the Middle East.

The Sources

The database’s main sources are UNESCO’s Index Translationum (IT), which is self-described as “an international bibliography of translations” and the University of Rochester Three percent website which compiles an annual list of translated books in the United States. Books included in this database are those translated from Arabic from 1979 to the present. Secondary sources include publisher websites from North America and Great Britain. From these sources, the newest database with the smallest team has over 1,000 translated books cataloged for analysis.

The Logistics

This database is strongly based on UNESCO’s Index Translationum (IT) database, searching by books translated from original Arabic by year. Once a mass of books are included in the database, the team will categorize – or code – these translated works based on language of translation, region, date of publication, topic. These codes will be attached to each book entry, in addition to the book’s author, translator, publisher, and ISBN (where available). Ultimately, the books will be searchable by any of those elements.

The Formatting

TBD uses Google Drive Spreadsheets. So far, the database consists of three sheets. The first sheet contains the entries. Each record is an individual book, and includes following values: Title, Author, Alternate Spellings, Translator, Year, Publisher, ISBN, Languages, Institution Type, Ownership, and Country of Press. Other values, which will be filled in at a later stage, include Awards, Themes, Book Reviews, Original book cover, Translated edition cover, and Blurbs.
The second sheet includes the sources. Each record is a publisher, and includes the following variables: Tier (1-3), Host Institution, Name of Source/Publisher, Link, Institution Type, and Ownership, Country.
The third sheet contains the authors. Each record is an individual author, and values include First Name, Last Name, DOB, Country of Origin, Published Works, Degree, Institution and Official Website.

The Caveats

Our translated-books database was sourced from two main databases. Both do not cover and include the same period and data. The Unesco Index Translatonium is the result of an international cooperation between bibliographic centers and national libraries of participating countries which send UNESCO their bibliographic data. These might not be fully comprehensive. It has been updated up to 2009 so far. The Three percent translation database focuses on translations published or distributed in the United States of America from 2008 to 2015. Thus, it does not include English translations in other countries, only covers fiction and poetry and only includes original works, meaning that second or later editions of books which had already been translated into English in the past are not in their database.