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Shaping the Field of Translation In Japanese ↔ Turkish Contexts I

Edited By Esin Esen and Ryō Miyashita

The academic discipline of translation studies is only half a century old and even younger in the field of bilateral translation between Japanese and Turkish. This book is the first volume of the world’s first academic book on Turkish↔Japanese translation. While this volume gathered discussions on translation studies with theoric and applied aspects, literature, linguistics, and philosophy, the second volume deals with the history of translation, philosophy, culture education, language education, and law. It also covers the translation of historical materials and divan poetry. These books will be the first steps to discuss and develop various aspects of the field. Such compilation brings together experienced and young Turkology and Japanology scholars as well as academics linked to translation studies and translation, and also translators. Both volumes contain 24 essays written by twenty-two writers from Japan, Turkey, USA and China.

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Collaging Parallels and Divergences in Turkish and Japanese Translation History and Studies


I’m honored to be invited to contribute to the first volume of this pioneering series on Translation Studies in the Turkish and Japanese contexts—especially since I am neither Turkish nor Japanese. Despite three brief but wonderful visits to Turkey, I claim no expertise in translation in the Turkish context, although Japanese translation has been a longstanding interest. As an Australian, I speak with the temerity of an outsider to both cultures.

The historical context is always a good place to start when considering the current and future state of anything, as the broader temporal framework relativizes contemporary ideas and practices. Similarly, broadening the spatial framework—in this case, to include Turkey and Japan—helps relativize the theory and praxis of translation in individual sites. Let me indulge, then, in some selective meandering through Turkish and Japanese translation history before concluding with some brief and tentative remarks on Translation Studies in these two nations today.

At first glance, the trajectories of translation in Turkey and Japan might seem parallel in the Japanese sense of non-intersecting [heikōsen], since their histories and cultures evolved independently of each other. A closer examination, however, reveals that the English sense of parallel—i.e., being on similar trajectories (even if not identical)—is in fact relevant in certain respects. The two cultures evolved with no direct contacts until the late nineteenth century (notably, the 1890 visit by the Ertuğrul, when Wakayama villagers’ rescue of survivors of...

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