The “official” view on translation in Turkey

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This article provides an overview of five national publishing congresses in terms of their approach to translation, all of which took place in Turkey during a seventy-year period between 1939 and 2009. Tracing the discourse formed around translation during the congresses helps contextualize the political and cultural role of translation in Turkey throughout the period in question. The results of the study reveal that while the first two congresses approached translation as a channel through which the Western intellectual background would be imported into Turkey, later congresses indicate Turkey’s growing cultural self-confidence. The first congress resulted in the establishment of the Translation Bureau, which undertook the translation of around 1000 western classics into Turkish from 1940 to 1966. The most recent congress held in 2009 was marked by the discussions on the role and scope of another government-sponsored body: TEDA, which reversed the flow of translations and focused on translations from Turkish literature into foreign languages. The analysis of the discourse in the congresses held more recently also illustrates the emerging professionalization of the field of translation.


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