Where do you live/work?
I live in North Manchester. My office is located in the vibrant and historic Deansgate area in Manchester City Centre.
Are you mainly a translator or interpreter or both? What languages?
I am a certified translator and consecutive interpreter. I provide translation and interpreting from English into Arabic and vice-versa. I work closely with an assistant, translating legal and technical texts, and taking on transcription and subtitling jobs.
What are your specialist fields?
My specialist areas are legal, business and semi-technical. Please see more specialist areas on my website.
What’s the strangest/most interesting project you’ve ever worked on?
A translation of a 433 page book from old Arabic into English. It is a history book of Sudan in the 18th Century.
Tell us about a particularly proud moment in your translation career:
I fondly remember being greeted by Major-General Michael Charlton-Weedy, CBE Chief Executive of Emergency Planning College, Cabinet Office in York. I had travelled from Manchester to the York countryside very early in the morning. When meeting me at reception he stated, “Thank you very much for the heroic arrival, Mr al-Hamdi.” Major-General Michael Charlton-Weedy was a pleasure to work with and treated me extremely well. Please see his testimonial on my website.
Tell us two reasons why you like being a translator/interpreter:
I find joy in the mental acrobatics of translation, comprehending the source text and enjoying the flow of meaning into the target text. It is a heavenly miracle : “And one of His signs is the creation of the heavens and the earth, and the diversity of your languages and colours. Surely in this are signs for those of ˹sound˺ knowledge.” Holy Qur’an – Ar-Rum Chapter 30: Verse 22. “Then by the Lord of heaven and earth! ˹All˺ this is certainly as true as ˹the fact that˺ you can speak!” Holy Qur’an – Adh-Dhariyat Chapter 55: Verse 23.
Translation: From initially receiving the job to sending the final translation back to my clients, it is a joyful journey. It involves studying the text, checking terminology, translating, proof-reading, discussing ambiguities, finalising the text and delivering the documents. It’s a great pleasure to see an initially stressed client relax once they’ve received their certified translation by Special Guaranteed Delivery post.
Interpreting: It is the pleasure of sharing communication from the mind of a presenter, my mind and the minds of those in the audience. The presenter’s speech, processed in my mind, is verbalised by me and comprehended by the audience. The contented looks on the faces in the audience is an assurance to me and to the presenter that the information is being conveyed.
What is the most interesting place where you have lived/visited?
Campus of Heriot-Watt University, Edinburgh and Morocco.
In the 1990s I attended the enjoyable NWTN meetings held at the YHA in Castlefield, Manchester. On approaching the building and enjoying the canal side location, I was full of hope and peace, knowing I’d be greeting Graham Cross, Mike Hanson, Heidi Kerschl, Ian Gordon, Antonio Aparicio and many other kind friends.
My visits to the British Council in al-Waziriyah, Baghdad during the 1970s are very precious memories, as I thoroughly enjoyed the civil and cultural setting of the British Council Library, with its valuable language, linguistics, literature books, and research papers. The film screenings, theatre and musical performances held at the Hall of British Council in Baghdad were the happiest cultural events I ever attended, and they helped form the foundation of my competence of English and British culture.
What are your plans for professional development or a new field you’d like to work in?
I did localisation during the 1990s and am looking to focus on localisation work in the future.
Tell us something not many people know about you:
I look at life through the eyes of the Lord. I always ask myself if the deed I am about to do satisfies the Lord or not. I receive my heavenly guidance through the heavenly holy books; the Holy Qur’an, the Holy Bible and the Holy Torah.
I write, recite and translate Arabic and English poetry. On 17th July, 1986, I performed a public poetry recital in English of translations of poems by modern Arab poets in Covent Garden in London. I was interviewed by Mrs Leila al-Tami of BBC Arabic Service at this event. Please see details of my translated poems “Songs of Life” on my website.