Translation works open a new era for Turkish literature

Translation works open a new era for Turkish literature

ANKARA - Anadolu Agency
Translation works open a new era for Turkish literature

Ayşe Kulin

With the translation support program launched by the Translation and Publication Grant Program of Turkey (TEDA), Turkish writers have spread their influence and fame to the world. Among the authors whose works have been translated, Orhan Pamuk, Orhan Kemal and Ahmet Hamdi Tanpınar are the most read writers of Turkish literature. According to the information taken from the Tourism and Culture Minister, the support began in 2005 and started with 39 works. The aim of the program is to promote Turkish literature and culture. According to TEDA, Turkish culture, art and literature have contributed to universal culture and science notably through the literary products flowered in various geographies in different languages and in different styles throughout the history. Both the effects of Anatolian, Mediterranean and Mesopotamian civilizations and the cultural interrelations established both with the Eastern and the Western societies have strongly influenced Turkey’s rich cultural, artistic and literary heritage. This cultural and artistic accumulation which has emerged as a consequence of thoroughly different experiences displays a unique form of its own.

The Ministry of Culture and Tourism of Turkish Republic is a pioneer in producing sample projects for the survival and enrichment of national culture in addition to the works for sharing the rich cultural, artistic and literary accumulation of Turkey with other nations of the world so as to contribute to the universal culture.

The project pioneers believe that in the contemporary world the blending of various cultures and civilizations is key, leading the Ministry of Culture and Tourism to establish a publication policy in accordance with this process. It has introduced the principal authors of Turkish culture, art and literature to the world and paved the way for foreign readers to read Turkish works in their native languages.

With this project, in 2012 a total of 791 works from over 350 writers have been published in different languages. In the framework of this process, Turkish literature has spread to 57 countries in 53 different languages.

Orhan Pamuk, Orhan Kemal and Ahmet Hamdi Tanpınar

Among the supported projects, the highest level of support went to Orhan Pamuk. Pamuk’s books have been translated into 79 languages. And his book “The Museum of Innocence” has published in 13 different languages. The Black Book of Pamuk has been translated into 11 languages.

Orhan Kemal, on the other hand, came second in terms of support received. His book “Father’s house,” has been translated into eight languages, and “Cemile” has been translated into nine.

The most supported books in projects

One of the most supported books was “The Time Regulation Institute” by Ahmet Hamdi Tanpınar.
The book has been translated into 22 languages and the most well known work of Tanpınar, “Peace,” has been translated into 18 languages. The list was completed by Elif Şafak, Reşat Nuri Güntekin, Oya Baydar, Mario Levi, Aytül Akal, Ayfer Tunç, Hakan Günday. TEDA also helped to spread the Turkish language in the world.

The works of Yunus Emre, Mevlana, Ömer Seyfettin, Mehmet Akif Ersoy have been also translated.

The most frequently translated languages are German, Bulgarian, Arabic, Albanian, English, Persian, Bosnian, French and Greek.

Yunus Emre Institute

Earlier the Yunus Emre Institute initiated another project titled “Recovering Cultural Heritage in the Balkans,” which focuses on transferring Ottoman manuscripts into a digital environment in Macedonia, home to the largest number of Ottoman manuscripts in the Balkans after Bosnia Herzegovina.

As well as religious works in the Arabic language kept in the St. Kliment Ohridski Macedonia National University Library in Skopje and 3,743 books in the fields of medicine, law and agriculture, they were also transferring the works at the Macedonia Archive and Islamic Union Faculty of Theology Library into the digital environment.

Turkish literature in Bosnian libraries

Director of St. Kliment Ohridski Macedonia National University Library Mile Bosheski said that they had gathered those works during a process lasting 50 years. “The damaged works will also be restored,” Bosheski said. Foreign Minister Davut Güloğlu recently attended an iftar event and said, “The Yunus Emre Institute has opened 32 culture centers and there are a total of 15,000 people in the institutes learning Turkish.”

Bosnians are increasingly choosing to read books by Turkish writers, according to data taken from the Bosnia Herzegovina Communication Services. In the last two years, books by Orhan Pamuk, Ayşe Kulin, Zülfi Livaneli and Ahmet Hamdi Tanpınar have been amount the bestsellers in the country.

Until now, 48 Turkish books have been translated into Bosnian. Nedim Gürsel’s “Daugthers of Allah, Ayşe Kulin’s “Farewell,” “Her name is Aylin,” and “Last Train to Istanbul,” Elif Şafak’s “Love,” Ahmet Hamdi Tanpınar’s “Peace,” Orhan Pamuk’s “White Castle,” “The Museum of Innocence,” “Istanbul” and “My Name is Red,” and Zülfü Livaneli’s “Serenade,” are among the books translated into Bosnian.

On the non-fiction side of things, history books such as those written by İlber Ortaylı, “The Last Empire Ottoman,” are also being read a lot in the Bosnian market.

Meanwhile, E. L. James’ “Fifty Shades of Grey” and Luca Mozzati’s book “Islamic Art” are currently in the top five bestsellers’ list in Bosnia. Pamuk’s novels “Snow” and “My Name is Red” are particularly among the best-selling books in Bosnia.

Earlier, the Hürriyet Daily News reported that the director of the Şahinpaşiç Publishing House in Bosnia, Aydin Şahinpaşiç, said they had so far published six works from Turkish literature and that three books by Ayşe Kulin, Zülfü Livaneli and Sabahattin Ali were ready to be put on the market. In the meantime, books by Demet Altınyeleklioğlu, İskender Pala, Selim İleri and Mustafa Armağan, which have been translated into Bosnian, were among the works put up for sale at the recent International Sarajevo Book Fair.

ÇEV-BİR supports Turkish writers

The Ministry of Culture and Tourism of Turkey organizes bilingual Translation Workshops jointly with international translation funds, translation centers, ÇEV-BİR (Literary Translators Society), ÇEV-DER (Association of Translation) and the University of Bogazici and Hacettepe. The workshop adventure started with Turkish-English (TEÇCA) in 2006, and Turkish-German and Turkish-French translation workshops were included in 2011.

After the positive feedbacks from moderators, translators and our international partners, Turkish-Spanish, Turkish-Russian, Turkish-Chinese and Turkish-Arabic translation workshops were also included in 2012 and these workshops were successfully held in November, simultaneously with 31st Istanbul International Book Fair.

In 2013, Turkish-Italian, Turkish-Polish and Children’s and Young adult literature was included in the scope of the event. The workshops will be held in parallel with the Istanbul International Book Fair in Büyükada, Istanbul in autumn.