Blog-text

The National Bureau of Translations partners with Cambridge University Press to introduce Kazakh literature and culture to the world

Haddy Ndure | 3 May 2019

ALMATY, 18 April 2019 – Anthologies of contemporary Kazakh literature, including both prose and poetry, have been published into the six official UN languages. The project has been carried out under the “Modern Kazakh Culture in the Global World” programme, aimed at introducing to the world Kazakh literature and culture since its independence.

It is one of the pillars of the Ruhani Zhangyru programme, initiated by the First President of Kazakhstan Nursultan Nazarbayev. 

Literary critics, authors of works included in the Anthologies, translators, heads of translating and printing houses from the UK, Spain, France, Russia, China, Egypt and the Middle East attended the launch of the Anthologies, which took place on 18 April.

According to the Head of the Department of Internal Policy of the Administration of the President of Kazakhstan and Secretary of the National Commission on the implementation of the Ruhani Zhangyru programme, Aida Balayeva, the translation of the selected Kazakh literature into the six official UN languages is an unprecedented initiative aimed at introducing contemporary Kazakh literature to the world.

“Selected works of more than 60 Kazakhstani authors will be translated at once into six major languages of the world, published at the best printing houses of the UK, France, Spain, Egypt, China, and Russia, and reach university libraries and scientific centres of more than 90 countries in five continents. It means that 2.6 billion people will have access to Kazakh literature masterpieces,” said Mrs. Balayeva.

Significant attention was paid to the quality of translation within the project. Translators and publishing houses’ representatives from the UK, Spain, Russia, France and China visited Kazakhstan to learn about the local history and culture, and interview the authors. This greatly contributed to ensuring the texts remained close to the original and that the translations were of a high standard.

One of the key partners of the project, Cambridge University Press, not only translated but also printed and distributed the Anthologies with the involvement of leading translators and literary editors in the UK.

Rod Smith, Global Managing Director of Education at Cambridge University Press, said: “We’re proud of our work in Kazakhstan and the initiatives we’ve been involved in over the last decade which demonstrate our commitment to helping education in Kazakhstan grow and strengthen itself. 

It’s a privilege to participate in the Ruhani Zhangyru programme through our partnership with the National Bureau of Translation. These Anthologies are a door through which international students of literature can enter Kazakhstan.

We look forward to continuing to offer our partnership and support to the Kazakh people, and to help them unlock their potential for creativity, innovation and learning.”

The modern Kazakh literature was translated into Spanish with the support of the Ministry of Culture of Spain and the Cervantes Institute. The French version was prepared with the support of the Mayor of Paris and Centre national du livre.

The coordination of the Russian language translation was done by the Moscow branch of the Russian Writers’ Union, while the printing house of the Lomonosov Moscow State University contributed to the publishing and distribution.

China’s Nations Printing House carried out the translation, publishing and distribution of the Kazakh literature in Chinese. The Anthologies will be introduced to Arab countries by the Culture and Education Centre of Egypt.

These partner organisations engaged more than 70 specialists to translate, edit, distribute and promote the Anthologies.

The project has been implemented by the National Bureau of Translations, commissioned by the Ministry of Culture and Sport of the Republic of Kazakhstan.


Aigul Kemelbayeva: ‘Every line of Kazakh literature is a treasure’

Born in the same year as J.K. Rowling, Aigul started writing 15 years before the British novelist. The Kazakh author…


Poem of the week: When I lean on your shoulder

When I lean on your shoulder, a sudden frenzy breaks out and dies in my heart. O my darling, let…


Contemporary Kazakh Culture in the Global World at the London Book Fair

The London Book Fair (LBF) is the global marketplace for rights negotiation and the sale and distribution of content across…