USD 2 Million up for Grabs in 2018 Sheikh Hamad Translation Prize

Now on its fourth year, the Sheikh Hamad Award for Translation and International Understanding (SHATIU) is back with a USD 2m prize pot.

The prize money will be shared by winners across three categories — Translation Prizes (USD 800,000), Achievement Prizes (USD 1m), and Prize for International Understanding (USD 200,000). Nominations are accepted until August 31, 2018.

Since it was launched in Doha, Qatar in 2015, the international prize has honored 45 individuals and five organizations whose works have contributed to the award’s goal of developing international understanding and encouraging cross-cultural interaction between Arabic and other world languages.

In this year’s Translation Prize, the board of judges will choose the best works in the English to Arabic and Arabic to English language pairs with the following cash incentives — USD 100,000 for the first place, USD 60,000 for the second place, and USD 40,000 for the third place.

In the past three years, 20 individuals have been awarded in this category, most of whom are university professors who have taught at leading academic institutions, including Oxford University, University of Basel, Sorbonne, McGill University, Islamic University, and the American University in Cairo.

Many are also poets, historians, and literary critics in their respective countries. As the award is currently limited to the humanities and the social sciences, the winners have translated mainly literary works, political treatises, and philosophical as well as historical accounts in English and Arabic.

CategoryWinnersTranslated Work
Arabic to English 2015
First PrizeGeert Jan van Gelder and Gregor SchoelerEpistle of Forgiveness by al-Ma`arrī
Second PrizeImran Ahsan Khan Nyazee and Issa BoullataThe Reconciliation of the Fundamentals of Islamic Law by al-Shāṭibī
Third PrizeFerial Ghazoul and John VerlendenChronicles of Majnun Layla and Selected Poems
Arabic to English 2016
First PrizeMichael CoopersonVirtues of the Imām Aḥmad ibn Ḥanbal
Arabic to English 2017
First PrizePaul Starkey, Catherine HallsShell of Mustafa Khalifa
Second PrizeGabriel Fouad HaddadDownload lights in the mysteries of interpretation of the white
English to Arabic 2015
First PrizeImām `Abd al-Fattāḥ ImāmMulticultural Odysseys by Will Kymlicka
Second PrizeFāyiz ṢuyyāghThe Age of Extremes by Eric Hobsbawm
Third PrizeAḥmad Ḥasan al-Ma`īnī and Aḥmad Sālim Sālim `Alī `ĪsāA History of Egypt in the Middle Ages by Stanley Lane-Poole
English to Arabic 2016
First PrizeMurād TadghūtArabic Manuscripts: A Vademecum for Readers by Adam Gacek
Second PrizeḤasan ḤilmīThe Cantos of Ezra Pound (selections) and Personae: Collected Shorter Poems (selections)
Third PrizeMuṣṭafa Muḥammad `abd Allah QāsimConstantinople: City of the World’s Desire 1453-1924 by Philip Mansel
English to Arabic 2017
First PrizeAnswer ImamThe Origins of the Political System, the Political System and the Political Decadence of Francis Fukuyama
Second PrizeYousef bin OthmanNewtonian Studies of Alexander Querier
Third PrizeHamza bin Qablan al – MuzainiWhat kind of creatures are we? To Noam Chomsky


As in years past, a USD 200,000 also awaits an individual or an organization that will be chosen for the Achievement Award. In 2015, this honor was awarded to the Al-Munaẓẓamah al-`Arabīyah li-al-Tarjamah (The Arab Organization for Translation), which has published over 300 high-quality translations since it was founded in 1999, according to the awards website.

In 2016 and 2017, four organizations also received the Achievement Award — Casa Árabe (Spain), Banipal Publishing (UK), Ibn Tufayl Foundation for Arabic Studies (Spain), and Sindbad (Actes Sud) (Paris).

German in the Spotlight

This year’s featured language is German. Up for grabs are prizes for the best works translated from Arabic into German (USD 200,000 USD), and from German into Arabic (USD 200,000)

SHATIU has also featured other languages in the past three years — Turkish in 2015, Spanish in 2016, and French in 2017.

CategoryWinnersTranslated Work
Arabic to Turkish (2015)
First PrizeMuhammet Ҫelikal-`aql al-akhlāqī al-`Arabī by Muḥammad `Ābid al-Jābirī
Second PrizeOsman GumanDalā’il al-i`jāz by `Abd al-Qāhir al-Jurjānī
Third PrizeÖmer TürkerSharḥ al-mawāqif by al-Sharīf al-Jurjānī
Turkish to Arabic (2015)
First PrizeFazel Bayatal-Bilād al-`Arabīyah fī al-wathā’iq al-`Uthmānīyah (four volumes
Second PrizeAbd al-Qādir `AbdallīHuzur by Ahmet Hamdi Tanpinar
Third PrizeṢafwān ShalabīLa wujūd limāyud`ā bilghad.
Arabic to Spanish (2016)
First PrizeSalvador Pena MartinMil y una noches in four volumes
Second PrizeIgnacio FerrandoAzazel – Youssef Ziedan
Third PrizeMahmud SobhEl diván de la poesía Árabe oriental y Andalusí
Spanish to Arabic (2016)
First PrizeSaleh AlmanDiez mujeres – Marcela Serrano
Second PrizeSulayman Al AttarEl ingenioso hidalgo don Quijote de la Mancha
Third PrizeAli Ibrahim MenufHatshapsut: de reina a Faraón de Egipto
Arabic to French (2017)
First PrizePhilip FigaroMaqamat Hamdani
Second PrizeFrederick LagrangePurporting to preach to his servant
Mai Abdel Karim MahmoudPapa Sartre to Ali Badr
French to Arabic (2017)
First PrizeMahmoud TarshonaYemen and the Islamic Yemen, Radhi Dghvos
Jean Majid JabbourTime of humiliation of Bertrand Badie
Second PrizeJamal ShahidPleasures and days of Marcel Broust
Third PrizeMohammad HatamiSocial and cultural assets of the Moroccan patriotism of Abdullah al-Arawi
Ahmed Al Sadqi


This is on top of the Achievement Prizes awarded to translations from Arabic into languages selected annually (USD100,000 each). This year, the achievement prizes are for Bosnian, Italian, Japanese, Russian, and Swahili.

In 2017, an Achievement Award was given to translated works from Arabic to Eastern Languages (Urdu, Chinese, Farsi, Malay, and Japanese).

Achievement Award for Eastern Languages
UrduAbdul Jabbar al-Rifai
ChineseShui Qingguo (Bassam)
FarsiMohamed El Said Gamal El Din
MalayAbdul Aziz Hamdi Abdel Aziz
JapaneseZaker Hafez


The third and the last category is the Prize for International Understanding, which has a cash incentive of USD 200.000. SHIATU said this will be awarded to “individuals or institutions with substantive contribution to building a culture of peace and promoting international understanding.”

A report from The Peninsula Qatar on March 19, 2018 quoted Dr. Hanan Al Fayadh, the Award’s Media Consultant, as saying that a team from the steering committee will be visiting universities and academies in targeted countries to provide details.