The late, great scholar of the Middle East, Bernard Lewis, once quoted a French wit who likened translations to wives - 'some are beautiful, some are faithful, few are both'. An Italian phrase, he added, summed it up: 'Traduttore traditore - translator, traitor.'
A German Islamicist and scholar of Arabic, Frieddhelm Hoffmann, would probably concur. He was aghast to discover the tendentious and manipulative translations which characterize Mouez Khalfaoui's and Islam Dayeh's rendering of the respected Princeton professor Mark R. Cohen's book "Under Crescent and Cross. The Jews in the Middle Ages" into Arabic.
Professor Mark R Cohen: mistranslated
Clearly, mistranslations and misrepresentations can lead to disastrous decisions and policy, based on misconceptions.
When Mr Hoffmann tried to get an essay exposing the mistranslations published, however, he found that no editor was willing to publish it.
Enter Point of No Return to the rescue. We were happy to publish a synopsis of Mr Hoffmann's exposé, linking to the more detailed essay.
We are glad to report that the story has a happy ending. Several German academic libraries now catalogue Mr Hoffmann's document, linking to its source, Point of No Return.
Although Mr Hoffmann says that his negative publishing experiences outweigh the positive, this was a small victory for truth. Let's hope that there are more in the future.
Fighting revisionism - and this blog's part in it