- Independent Journalism From Today's Armenia
June 04, 2004

Old Message in Old Language: Koran to be made available in Armenian

Even though poet and translator Eduard Hakhverdyan is author of many books and translations, he confesses that the last work he had been ordered was the most responsible one in his life. The Embassy of Iran commissioned Hakhverdyan to produce an Armenian version of the Holy Koran.

“I was in a situation like the one the painters are in when they look at the white canvass for days and months and only then start creating,” Hakhverdyan says. “From the moment I received that order I started reading the Bible in order to get more strength and to understand better the unique vocabulary of spiritual literature.”

Partial translations of the Koran already exist in Armenian, but are not considered to be of very high quality and, as a result, verses lose their meaning.

Last October Hakverdyan took on the considerable task of making the Islamic holy book accessible to Armenians.

“I won’t say it came as surprise, but I can say I accepted that offer with anxiety since in the upshot the Koran is the Holy Book of All-Islamic world and not simply a collection of poems or a story so that you just sit and translate,” Hakverdyan says. “In this case the responsibility was great and you have to be ready for both encouragements and blows.”

The Koran consists of 30 parts. Today, after a work that has been going for several months, Armenian readers have opportunity to read more than 1,000 commandments of the 29 th and 30 th parts. The rest will be translated if Hakverdyan’s first work is approved.

Hakhverdyan says that Armenian translation of the Koran was to be done earlier, but was delayed due to several complications.

The translator calls it his most serious work..

“The thing is that many do not know what the Koran is and hearing that name they think that it’s a terribly bad thing,” says Hakhverdyan. “And now, if they will read the Koran they will see that it is God’s sermons and commandments which are aimed at showing people the right path.”

The translator says that God’s word according to the Koran has evoked real interest among many people, especially among arts specialists who expressed a wish to have the book. Some even asked for the handwritten version and read it before being published.

“Till now, the Koran did not have a complete translation in Armenia and people are not aware of the content,” he says. “The translation already gives an opportunity to get acquainted with the book, to create in a new way and to have new emotions. I think my poetry will also be affected by the Koran.”

Hakhverdyan says the translation was done from Persian and comparisons were done with the original in Arabic. An Arabic specialist also took part in the works.

The translator says though the work was very hard and there were ideas and expressions which took hours and days of explanations, he can say with pride that the Armenian translation does not yield to the Persian one.

“I tried not to translate it in a complicated way, I tried to approach it with a more simple language so that it’s available and clear,” Hakhverdyan says. “For that reason, if we look at the Arabic version which is also included in the book and the Armenian translation, it becomes clear how much the Armenian surpasses the Arabic from a volume point of view. It’s because every thought is explained in an accessible way.”

According to Hakhverdyan the Armenian book of the Koran will not be sold but it will be presented and distributed to universities, education centers and in general to those who are interested.

“In total, there will be 15 books which will include the 30 parts of the holy book,” says Hakhverdyan. “After the publishing, if the center of Koranic science gives its approval of the works and endorses it, the Koran will be published as one big volume.”

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