bir eski siir
It was more than a pleasure to have your comments on translation, and I could not agree with you more. However, I hate to have to break the news to you that you and I are in a very small minority in being concerned about such matters. Dare I say an elite minority? Or so I feel. We are very fortunate in the U.S. (and Britain) in having at least a small number of monthly, even weekly, literary publications that review/critique quality literature. When a review concerns a translated work, there are usually comments about the quality of the translation. These often elicit comments in the letters to the editor section in subsequent issues from readers who agree or disagree as well as (sometimes rather angry) comments from the translator(s). Such was the case with the translation of Pamuk's Kara Kitap and more recently a revision of a revision of the original translation of Proust's A la recherche du temps perdu. But, who sees all this stuff? And who cares? Again, a very small minority of readers. As for translation into Turkish, that's a curious business. I think they whole business of publishing books in Turkey is somewhat different than it is here, especially the author-editor relationship which is practically mandatory in our publishing houses. That is, manuscripts are submitted to a publishing company either directly or via a literary agent and are given to the publishing company's editors who accept or reject the work. If accepted, then the editor works with the author to turn the manuscript into a publishable work. Editors are, in effect, frontline critics and, if necessary, repairmen. As Nihat Sami Banarli puts it in Edebi Bilgiler, this is the person who guides the author, who solves problems, and in order to do this such a person must have an excellent comprehension of literary problems and must be a person of an excellent and broad culture. According to Nihat bey, this critiquing is the most difficult yet necessary branch of literature. The reason I bring this up is because I wonder if this author-editor relationship is a part of Turkish book publishing? Do established Turkish writers and especially translators have their own personal editors? From what I've seen, I have my doubts as books sometimes look as if they were produced from a writer's first draft with little or no editing. But as you say, a reader who only knows Turkish (and it applies equally to a reader who only knows English) has to simply trust the translator as does an editor who is in the same position. But it seems to me that an editor who knows his job ought to have some means of verifying a translation. While it may not be a translation that pleases everyone, at least it won't make the original author look like a fool. And perhaps it will move someone else to make a new translation (or revise a previous translation) of the same work--this happens frequently with the so-called "Classics" that have been translated into English. One must always remember that translation is an imperfect art, and there are very few people who know the full depth of their own native language to say nothing of a second, third or what have you language that they can translate anything one puts in front of them (some books require translator teams, like the Proust I mentioned above).
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