Turkey-related Events at Beijing Int’l Book Fair (Aug 27-31)

Turkey is the “Country of Honor” at the upcoming Beijing Int’l Book Fair (Aug 27-31), and with the help of the BIBF’s Mr. Xiao Guanglu and Ms. Tütengül Küçüker at Istanbul’s Kalem Agency, I now have a full (draft) schedule of related events.

Attention:

Details such as time, venue and specific participants may change!

At the Turkish Pavilion (Hall W2)

  • Frequent “mini-concerts” of Turkish music during entire book fair
  • All-day Exhibitions: “Ottoman Empire through Chinese Eyes” (photos); “Cultural destinations in Turkey” (3D photos); “Domes” (holograms); and illustrations by Turkish artists; and Anatolian folk toys
  • 3,000 books on display. Based on my own research, only a few dozen will be in Chinese, mind you. If translators met their deadlines, they could include a handful of contemporary novels newly rendered in Chinese such as The Lost Word by Oya Boydar, who spent several years in exile in Germany, and touches here on the sensitive topic of the Kurdish struggle for a separate homeland; Istanbul Was a Fairy Tale, by Mario Levi, descendant of a family of Sephardic Jews; two novels by Hande Altaylı (Maraz, and Aska Şeytan Karışır); Reha Çamuroğlu (Bir Anlık Gecikme); Çiler Ilhan (Sürgün); Emrah Polat (Köpek Adamlar); Ahmet Ümit (Istanbul Hatırası); Ece Vahapoğlu (Öteki); and — hopefully — what is widely regarded as the most outstanding Turkish novel of the 20th century, The Time Regulation Institute by Ahmet Tanpınar. For a fuller list of Turkish novels already or soon to be out in Chinese, including works by Elif Şafak, Orhan Pamuk, Canan Tan and Ayşe Kulin, see Translation Crunch.

Workshops: Traditional Turkish Arts (E1 BO2, all day)

  • Calligraphy, Marbling and Illumination

Turkey’s Translation & Publication Grant Program  [Read more...]

Çin Edebiyatından Kültür Devrimine Ergen Gözüyle Bakış: Wang Gang’ın İngilizce Romanı

Ayşe Ünal Ersönmez

(for English version, click here)

Çin edebiyatının son birkaç yılda hem kendi ülkesinde hem de dünyada en ilgi görmüş örneklerinden Wang Gang’ın İngilizce adlı romanı, 2013 yılında Kalkedon Yayınları tarafından Nil Demir çevirisiyle Türkçe’ye kazandırıldı.

Roman, Çin’in kuzeybatısındaki Sincan Uygur Özerk Bölgesinde yaşayan Çinli genç “Aşk Liu”nun delikanlılıkIngilizce dönemini konu alıyor. Aşk Liu’nun, her ergen gibi yetişkin dünyasını ve karşı cinsi anlamlandırma dertleriyle boğuştuğu yaşlarını sürerken ilave bir yükü daha var çünkü aynı dönemde Çin, yakın tarihindeki en sancılı süreçlerden 1965-1975 yılları arasında Mao önderliğinde yaşanan Kültür Devrimiyle boğuşmakta. Nitekim roman, bu politik arka planın, bireysel ve toplumsal yaşamın cinsellik dahil her alanına yedirilmesiyle, bildiğimiz ergenlik dönemi romanlarından farklılaşıyor.

İngilizce konuşulan ülkelerin okurları, Kültür Devrimi döneminin ele alındığı Çin edebiyatı eserlerine aşina olabilir ancak Türk okuru için bu roman gerçekten de yepyeni bir dünyanın kapısını aralıyor.

Bunun yanında, hem Başbakan Erdoğan’a yönelik eleştiriler anlamında hem de Atatürk dönemiyle hesaplaşma kapsamında şimdilerde Türkiye gündeminde pek bir havada uçuşan “diktatör” sözcüğünün yankısının bulunabileceği, bir başka ülkenin yakın geçmişine ait baskıcı bir liderlik örneğinin, kültüre ve yaşam tarzına yönelik dayatmaların veya moda deyimiyle “toplum mühendisliği”nin yansımalarının görülebileceği bir roman İngilizce.

Aşk Liu, her ikisi de mimar ve aydın kişiler olan anne ve babasıyla birlikte Uygur bölgesinin başkenti Urumçi’de yaşamakta ve ortaokula devam etmektedir. Ne var ki zamanın Urumçisi kent bile sayılamayacak durumdadır, üstelik Kültür Devriminin baskısı altında inim inim inlemektedir. Eğitim devam etmekte ancak niteliği yerlerde sürünmektedir. [Read more...]

土耳其语/英语字典:走马观花

去年来土耳其刚好一个月的时候,究竟买到了一本用得上的土耳其语到英语的字典: Fono Yayınları 出的 Türkçe-土耳其字典的阅读Ingilizce Büyük Sözlük。不容易啦--因为此类参考书主要是为了帮助土耳其人学习英语的,所以其重点不是我们英语为母语者感兴趣的那些。

非常高兴能翻一翻这本,因为作为初学土耳其语的我,现在的眼光是不会再有。许多土耳其语的说法看起来很新鲜、好玩,不马上做个纪录将会忘记的。

几年前,我也买了商务印书馆新出的《土耳其语-汉语辞典》,也写了个简短的述评。等我找到了,再上载。

大学时代读了日本平安时代清少納言写的《枕草子》,特喜欢她对朝廷里日常现象风趣的描写和 “分类”。为了方便阅读,下面我也把我新近 “逛字典” 时的一些零碎印象同样分类: [Read more...]

土耳其文学翻译基金会项目:保加利亚语版本比中文多九倍?

土耳其官方在文学作品 “输出”正在学日本颇成功的老路。文化与旅游部下的 “土耳其文学翻译基金会” (TEDA) 至今一共资助TEDA 资助外文出版项目 了 1,132 本土耳其语书的外译与出版。

目标语言的选择有时很微妙。五分之一是译成德文的,但这无可厚非,因为六十年代以来到德国工作之后流下来定居已经有三百多万土耳其人及其后代。部分这些青年甚至读不懂土语,必须通过德文才能接触土耳其文学。

排在第二位是保加利亚语,一共 194 本。保加利亚曾经是奥斯曼帝国的领土,如今人口七百万,等于上海人口的一半。

那么,得到翻译与出版资助的中文版本有多少呢?21 本,即保加利亚语版本的九分之一左右。不过,比中文版的数目更少的也有,包括荷兰文 (20)、西班牙语(20)和日文(5)等。(点击见原表)

Chinese Authors in Turkish: Obligatory Pretty Face, Nobel Stamp of Approval

Çin'in IncisiSince I arrived in Turkey in mid-June 2013 and resided in Ankara, Antalya and now Istanbul, I’ve seen 3—yes, 3—contemporary novels by Chinese authors in Turkish translation on bookstore shelves. Mind you, 2 of them I saw just a few weeks ago . . . and I go book-shopping at least once a week.

They are Mo Yan’s Kırmızı Darı Tarlaları (Red Sorghum), Anchee Min’s Çin’in Icisi (Pearl of China) and—just out—Tie Ning’s Yıkanan Kadınlar (The Bathing Women).

Based on my “comprehensive” market research, it appears that there are two packaging elements essential to cracking the Turkish market. The first is the mandatory oriental female visage showing at least the lips.

The other is the mention of the Nobel Prize in large type, on all 3 book covers (front or back), as misleading as it might be. Granted, Mo Yan is a Nobel Laureate, though many readers are unaware that the prize is awarded for a lifetime of writing, not for a particular novel. But Tie Ning’s cover quotes Japan’s Kenzaburō—himself a Nobel Laureate, we mustn’t forget—about the novel, while Anchee Min’s perhaps more shamelessly flashes the brand by reminding us that the subject of the work, Pearl Buck, was a recipient.

But that’s not to say that there are only three Chinese novels now available in Turkish. For a more comprehensive list of modern Chinese fiction available in Turkish (as of 1Q 2014), see below:

Ai Mi (艾米)

[Read more...]

Elif Şafak’s New Novel: A Great Ottoman Architect, An Elephant and His Keeper

The author of eight novels including the best-selling and controversial Bastard of Istanbul, Elif Şafak, has just launched her ninth—Ustam ve Ben—in Turkish. The title literally means “My Master and I.” Curiously, though she wrote it in English, according to Sunday’s Zaman (Homage to Mimar Sinan) the English version won’t appear until October 2014, and not necessarily under that name either.

Ustam ve benSet in 16th-century Istanbul, the book revolves around two characters: a white elephant named Çota and his Indian keeper, Cihan, who is one of four apprentices to Sinan Mimar, the chief architect to three Ottoman Sultans: Suleiman the Magnificent, Selim II, and Murad III. Experts consider the Selimiye Mosque in Edirne his masterpiece, although he is better known for the Suleiman Mosque in Istanbul. Sinan Mimar was reportedly responsible for the construction of more than three hundred major structures, and according to Wikipedia, “his apprentices would later design the Sultan Ahmed Mosque in Istanbul, Stari Most in Mostar and help design the Taj Mahal in the Mughal Empire.”

The object of much veneration in Turkey due to his unarguably superb architectural contribution to the Ottoman Empire, one aspect of Sinan Mimar’s legacy is both disputed and highly sensitive: his ethnicity. As online readers have commented below the Hürriyet Daily News article, and Wikipedia notes as well, some  historians maintain he was not an ethnic Turk, and may have been of Armenian, Albanian or Greek heritage. It is unlikely that Şafak would directly address this question in her novel, because reminding the public that the architect of some of Turkey’s most beloved mosques was Christian would be asking for trouble. In fact, reports The Guardian, she was prosecuted—but found not guilty in 2006—for “insulting Turkishness” and “faced up to three years in jail over remarks made by a fictional character in her latest novel, The Bastard of Istanbul, which referred to the massacre of Armenians in the first world war as genocide.”

An excerpt from the recent interview with the author:

[Sunday’s Zaman:] In this novel, you write of the refined character and art of Sinan through the stories of other people. But why did you not prefer to focus mostly on the architect?

[Şafak] In my opinion, great people can only be told of through their relationships with others. The people around them hold mirrors to (the inner worlds) of these great people. To be more precise, in order to tell the story of a master like Sinan, I need to tell the story of his relationship with his apprentices. I also need to tell the story of how he treated the laborers who worked for him. The greatness of Sinan was not only on paper. There were letters he sent to sultans, asking them to increase the salaries of the laborers. He was working hard in order to improve conditions. He could just as well have chosen not to deal with such details, but instead he did not step away from construction sites until the end of his long life. When I think of Sinan, I see a person who showed the utmost respect to his art and the people who did their jobs. These are the values that we have long forgotten. I wanted to write about the working principles of Sinan in this novel. I needed to prepare an environment to achieve this. So, I included the apprentices and animals in this story.

Wang Gang’s “Ingilizce” : Intriguing look at the Cultural Revolution for Turkish Readers

IngilizceAs China’s fiction “exports” pick up, it will be interesting to watch which novels and themes win an Exit Permit to foreign lands, and how they are received there.

Take Wang Gang’s 《英格力士》, for instance.  This semi-autobiographical novel set in Xinjiang during the Cultural Revolution was snapped up by Penguin, and rendered in English by Martin Merz and Jane Weizhen Pan as . . . English.  See my Growing up Han in Fictional Xinjiang for a combined book review and interview with the translators. The novel has since also appeared in French (English) and Spanish (El profesor de inglés) .

I assume the purchase and publication of Wang Gang’s work was a market-driven decision by Penguin. But late last year, his novel was launched in Turkish at the Istanbul Book Fair. The driver in that instance may have been somewhat more political. It was one of just two Chinese novels that were translated into Turkish and published in time for the fair thanks to a joint project subsidized by Turkey and China. The other was a relatively unknown work by Tie Ning (How long is forever?), who happens to be favorably placed; she’s top honcho at the state-run China Writers Association.

Given that only a handful of contemporary Chinese novels have appeared in Turkish, I can’t help but ponder the symbolism of choosing a Xinjiang-born Han author’s novel as an introduction to 21st-century Chinese literature. The novel is set in Xinjiang, the home of some ten million Uyghurs, a Turkic-speaking, traditionally Muslim people who have ancient ties with the Turkish. But the novel itself focuses almost exclusively on the Han community there; there are no Uyghur male characters in it.

Irony of ironies, Wang Gang’s novel was translated from the English-language English, not his Chinese original. The first casualty may have been the book’s title in Turkish that couldn’t be much more mundane: Ingilizce, the proper Turkish term for the English language. The original novel  was entitled 英格力士, however, which is closer to a phonetic transcription of the word as you would find it in a dictionary, e.g., “ing-glish”, a more notable title that positions the word as alien to the speaker.  As you can see from the Spanish and French titles above, Ingilizce is a more orthodox translation from the, uh, English.

At any rate, keen to see how a novel about the Cultural Revolution would be rendered in Turkish, I commissioned an English-to-Turkish literary translator here in Istanbul to review the Turkish book as well as comment on how it compares with the English rendition. The review—in English—follows below. Here’s her Turkish review Çin Edebiyatından Kültür Devrimine Ergen Gözüyle Bakış: Wang Gang’ın İngilizce Romanı . [Read more...]

韩寒:英语世界之外的进展

伊斯坦布尔版权经纪 Kalem Agency 最近宣布,他们正在向土耳其出版界营销韩寒的 This Generation: Dispatches fromHan Han China’s Most Popular Literary Star (and Race Car Driver)。其主要来源是韩寒博客上的文章,也有相当一部分来自在 2010年在台湾出版的一个集子,《青春》。

他的《三重门》几年前就有意大利文版本(Le Tre Porte),而《他的国》的法文版 Stéphane Lévêque 也正在翻译,将由 Philippe Picquier 出版。Lévêque 也是《水乳大地》的法语翻译(Une terre de lait et de miel)。

在土耳其翻译出版的中国现代的小说只有十几本,包括:王刚的《英格力士》Ingilize;莫言的《红高粱》Kızıl Dara Tarlaları;迟子建的《额尔古纳河右岸》(书名未定),和铁凝的《大浴女》(Yıkanan Kadınlar)。

伊斯坦布尔 5 月 5-11 日:Istanbul Tanpinar Literature Festival

土耳其最大的文学节的节目表刚发表(City & Journey)。 “Tanpinar” 指的是 20 世纪土耳其作家阿赫迈特·哈姆迪·唐帕纳尔  。他著名小说 The Time Regulation Institute 的中文版今年内将由上海文艺出版社出版。

istanbul tapinar literature festival1

2014年文学节的主题是 “城市与旅程”,将有 80 多位作家、文学翻译与新闻工作者演讲或参与座谈会。题目包括各种个样 “在路上”的探讨,奥斯曼时代到 21 世纪共和国的美食文化,以及用突厥语言之外的少数民族文学,例如亚美尼亚、库尔德语等。

主持或参与座谈会的文学界人士包括:

Time to Open up the Orhan Pamuk/Mo Yan Monopoly to Competition?

At his press conference yesterday in Istanbul after a five-day stay in the city, Mo Yan called for the governments of China and Turkey to actively promote literary translation.

“I could have [the] chance to read only the books of Orhan Pamuk as he was the only Turkish writer whose books have been translated into Chinese. And Turkish readers most probably only read my book,” he said (Xinhua). The latter is a reference to Kızıl Darı Tarlaları (Red Sorghum), his sole novel to be translated into Turkish.

Well, that’s a slight exaggeration. At least 9 of Pamuk’s books are available in Chinese, but the good news is that several new titles from other Turkish authors—I count another 9—should be launched before or at the 2014 Beijing Int’l Book Fair in late August this year. They include the classic Turkish novel of the 20th century, The Time Regulation Institute by Ahmet Tanpınar, also newly rendered in English. See 中文版本 for the full list.

If politically correct Mo Yan insists on reading solely Chinese renditions available in the People’s Republic, however, he will be missing out on two of the most popular Turkish authors who have elected to publish their works first in Taiwan: Elif Şafak, who just launched her 愛的哲學課:雲遊僧與詩人魯米 (Forty Rules of Love) there, and Ahmet Ümit’s 伊斯坦堡死亡紀事 (Istanbul Hatırası), a crime thriller.

[Read more...]