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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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Translating the Turkish Personal Pronoun “Ben” into Japanese Role Languages

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Abstract: This paper analyzed Turkish–Japanese translation through “role language” (yakuwari-go), a term expressing a sociolinguistic, literary concept that often becomes problematic when translating from a foreign language into Japanese. In “I. Introduction,” types of Japanese first-person pronouns—their usage depending on social situations—and research backgrounds of role language are introduced. In “II. Watakushime, Washi, Ore, Boku,” various cases of Turkish “Ben” being translated into diverse first-person pronouns—Watakushime used by a trickster, Washi by old men, Ore by villains, and Boku by intellectuals—are analyzed through comparison among Turkish, Japanese, and English translations of Orhan Pamuk’s novels—My Name is Red, Snow, The Museum of Innocence, and The New Life. In “III. ‘Watashi’ and ‘Boku’ as Literary Role Language,” a comparative study is presented about Watashi, which became the official, public first-person pronoun after the Meiji Restoration, and Boku, which has recently won status as literary role language in Japanese literature. Based on these cases and the research, “IV. Conclusion” indicates that role language is an essential technical tool for cultural translation when the target language is Japanese, further indicating the magnitude of the translator’s role and responsibility in translating from Turkish to Japanese.

Keywords: Role Language, Turkish Literature, Japanese Translation, Localization

I Introduction

1 First-Person Pronouns in Japanese

Translation of Turkish literary source texts into the target text of Japanese always involves challenges and problems based on which of a variety of Japanese first-person pronouns to choose...

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