Tradition, Tension and Translation in Turkey

ORCID logoŞehnaz Tahir Gürçağlar | Bogaziçi University
Saliha Paker | Bogaziçi University
John Milton | University of São Paulo
ISBN 9789027258595 | EUR 95.00 | USD 143.00
ISBN 9789027268471 | EUR 95.00 | USD 143.00
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The articles in this volume examine historical, cultural, literary and political facets of translation in Turkey, a society in tortuous transformation since the 19th century from empire to nation-state. Some draw attention to tradition in Ottoman practices and agents of translation and interpreting, while others explore the republican period, starting in 1923, with the revolutionary change in script from Arabic to Roman coming in 1928, making a powerful impact on publication and translation practices. Areas covered include the German Jewish academic involvement in translation, traditional and current practices of translating from Kurdish into Turkish, censorship of translated literature, intralingual translations from Ottoman into modern Turkish, pseudotranslation, ideological manipulation and resistance in translation, imitativeness vs. originality and metonymics of literary reviewing.
[Benjamins Translation Library, 118] 2015.  xiii, 311 pp.
Publishing status: Available
Table of Contents
Tradition, Tension and Translation in Turkey is a collection of fascinating studies about one of the richest and most complex cultures in human history. Like a classical thriller, it contains all of the necessary ingredients that make it so intriguing: heterogeneity through immigration and expansion that generated intensive interference with many other cultures, both close and remote. The full canvas of such heterogeneous and complex processes could be unraveled only thanks to the growing research carried out within the framework of translation and intercultural studies. Translation Studies have gone a long way from the time when they focused on linguistic comparison and questions of fidelity. The context of translation, the conditions under which it is carried out, its role in society, as well as the role of translators as agents of change and innovation have become more and more mainstream, not the least through the pioneering spirit and perseverance that has characterized the work of the editors of this book – in particular professor Saliha Paker. But the book goes even beyond that by demonstrating for so many different cases that it is only when we take account of the translation events involved with these cases that we can fully understand them. The traditional study of cultural canons has always tended to eliminate cultural heterogeneity as well as interculturality. This book successfully eliminates this scandalous elimination by demonstrating in concrete terms the indispensability of translation analysis for the investigation of culture. In this manner, what is generally known under the name of Translation Studies becomes a necessary and indeed unavoidable component in the larger discipline of Culture Research. It is no longer a marginal area of studies in the grand bazaar of the humanities, but a core area that can no longer be ignored. It is a great pleasure for one who was met at the beginning of his academic career with much skepticism about the very justification of translation research to see how proliferous this field of study has become, and how large, powerful and sophisticated the Turkish translation studies community is nowadays. However, the book should not be read only by people interested in Turkey or the Ottoman Empire, but by everyone who wishes to understand how cultural dynamics evolves in human societies along history.”
“In the past as today, an intense curiosity about what others everywhere are thinking and writing has made Turkey the site of an amazing variety of translation efforts spanning many centuries. As a result, the history of Turkish (and Ottoman) literature and criticism has been rife with vexacious questions surrounding translation: What counts as translation? What is originality? What is imitation? What is “tradition”? Is “translation” an admission of inferiority? And so on… Recently, the Turkish response to such questions has been to develop an intense scholarly interest in translation, which has resulted in the burgeoning of degree-granting academic programs in the practice and theory of translation. Tradition, Tension and Translation in Turkey is an outstanding example of the fruits of this Turkish academic interest. The 14 essays in this multi-authored book, insightfully introduced by the editors, is an impressively sophisticated, informative, and wide-ranging collection of studies by Turkish scholars whose work demonstrates — quite convincingly, in my opinion — why Turkey should be considered a major source of powerful voices in a significant historical and theoretical discussion about translation. This is an important book. It is in English and it should be part of the core bibliography in translation studies world-wide.”
“This is an excellent book on the state of the art of translation studies in Turkey, and the art is clearly flourishing and worth following for anyone interested in Turkish cultural history or in cultural studies more broadly.”
“The quality and reach of these fourteen articles indeed realize the editors’ attempt that this volume be “the most comprehensive one ever concerning translation in Turkey” (viii). Readers will come across a richly detailed picture of translators engendering and deconstructing certain concepts in the Ottoman literary tradition and the transformative role of translation in modern Turkey, including also the ways in which it comes into contact with issues that have long occupied the Turkish sociopolitical agenda. The volume should be a reliable source of information for anyone curious about Turkish politics and poetics besides, of course, students and scholars in the field of translation studies. The editors, as well as the authors, should be applauded for carrying out the task of transmitting a truly complicated picture with such skill and expertise.”
Cited by

Cited by 3 other publications

Demircioğlu, Cemal
2019. Chapter 10. Altaic tradition. In A World Atlas of Translation [Benjamins Translation Library, 145],  pp. 215 ff. DOI logo
Ergil, Başak
Gambier, Yves
2018. Chapter 1.1. Concepts of translation. In A History of Modern Translation Knowledge [Benjamins Translation Library, 142],  pp. 19 ff. DOI logo

This list is based on CrossRef data as of 19 march 2024. Please note that it may not be complete. Sources presented here have been supplied by the respective publishers. Any errors therein should be reported to them.


Communication Studies

Communication Studies


Language policy

Literature & Literary Studies

Theoretical literature & literary studies

Translation & Interpreting Studies

Translation Studies

Main BIC Subject

CFP: Translation & interpretation

Main BISAC Subject

LAN023000: LANGUAGE ARTS & DISCIPLINES / Translating & Interpreting
ONIX Metadata
ONIX 2.1
ONIX 3.0
U.S. Library of Congress Control Number:  2015010983 | Marc record