Translation Strategies of Culture-Specific Items Turkish - English

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Culture-specific Items and Translation Strategies -Fourth Company by Rıfat Ilgaz- Translated by Damian Croft

Bayram ERKUL

About the Author, the Translator and the Book
Rıfat Ilgaz (24 April 1911 – 7 July 1993) was a teacher, poet, and writer was born in Cide, Kastamonu, Turkey. Ilgaz is one of Turkey’s best-known and most prolific poets and writers, having authored over sixty works. Ilgaz started writing poetry during his junior school years and evolved into one of the prolific social-realist writers of 20th century Turkish literature. His poems are considered prime examples of socialist-realistic writing. While he has never really been a partisan of political ideologies, the fact that he has written about the sufferings of the people placed him at a left wing perspective. Like other writers of his time, Ilgaz was imprisoned as a result of one of his publications. Also, some of his books have been made into movies and they are stil popular in Turkey. Damian Croft was born in Preston, England in 1966. After a degree in music and several years working as a jazz musician in London, he went to work as an English teacher in Ankara, and it was there that he developed his everlasting passion for Turkey. When not translating or teaching, Croft works as a writer of fiction. In 1996, he was one of the winners of the London short story competition, and in 2000 he was the overall winner of the Islamic writing competition. He translated a series of dual language books. Especially, aimed at teenagers and adults, his translations were usually selected short stories by famous Turkish authors like Rıfat Ilgaz, Aziz Nesin, Füruzan and Muzaffer İzgü. He still works on Turkish traditional tales and legends. Fourth Company (Dördüncü Bölük), first published in 1993, is one of Rıfat Ilgaz’s storybooks and includes three stories; Fourth Company, Off to Exchange Bayram Greetings and A Fear of Doctors. It was published by Milet Publishing in Great Britain in 2001. The most important feature of this book is that it’s bilingual. The aim of the publisher in publishing this dual language book may be giving an opportunity of comparative reading and helping teenagers/adults in learning Turkish or English. We can simply state that stories in this book reflect cultural characteristics of Turkish/Anatolian people and culture-specific items in the country. The characters and events in these stories are strongly peculiar to Turkey-- even a specific region of Turkey. Thus some dialogues and idiomatic structures are almost impossible to find their equivalents in any other language. Here are see some examples and translation strategies used by Damian Croft to overcome the problems in the stories named Off to Exchange Bayram Greetings and Fourth Company: •At the beginning of the book there’s a section named “Guide to Turkish Pronunciation”. This guide is designed to help English readers to read some culture-specific/borrowed words with their correct pronunciation. Some of these words are ‘Canavar’, Subaşı’, ‘muhtar’, ‘Güler’, ‘rakı’ etc. Guide to Turkish Pronunciation

Turkish letters which appear in the English text and which may be unfamiliar are shown below, with a guide to their correct pronunciation: c as j in ‘just’
ç as ch in ‘child’
ğ silent but lengthens preceding wovel
ı as a in ‘along’
ö as German ö in ‘Köln’
ş as sh in ‘ship’
ü as German ü in ‘fünf’ or French u in ‘tu’

Beginning with the titles of the stories may be helpful:
Dördüncü Bölük is translated as Fourth Company.
This is a word-for-word translation linked with the meaning of the words. It can be defined as a technical military term.

Bayramlaşmaya Gidiyoruz is translated as Off to Exchange Bayram Greetings. In this title, at first sight, the loan word ‘Bayram’ is...
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