Translators are literary ambassadors, bringing a foreign work to the audience of the target language. Choosing to translate His Excellency, The Ambassador, by Ghazzi AlQussaibi, was my primary pick for its popularity among Arab readers around the world. Some critics claim that the novel is actually a true story of an Arab politician, who was a close friend of the author. The author was actually a political figure for most of his life, we find almost all of his novels were centered on the life and work of politicians. When I started to translate this novel, I faced several obstacles ranging from linguistic, cultural, and political challenges.
The setting of the novel was not accurate to the real life. At the beginning, Yusuf Alfalaki arrived at the Saint James Palace to meet the prime minister of the United Kingdom at his office. Most people know that the office of the prime minister is actually at the 10 Downing Street, and there is no office for the prime minister at the Saint James Palace. Saint James Palace is a historical building that is still occupied by some the royal family. So why would the author give inaccurate historical account of places, even though he was once ambassador for long in the United Kingdom? I thought of changing the whole setting to the actual headquarter of the government office, but If I had to change the setting, then I would give wrong descriptions to the building and the rooms inside as described thoroughly and sarcastically by the author.