Research Article


DOI :10.26650/LITERA2021-925261   IUP :10.26650/LITERA2021-925261    Full Text (PDF)

Migrant Writing and Translation: The Case of Mohsin Hamid’s Exit West in Turkish

Hilal Erkazancı Durmuş

Migrant writing is based on textual productions that offer an alternative mode of reflection and expression of the migrant experience. Hence, the translation of migrant writing has significant implications for the representational politics that are closely related to the thematic features (e.g. hybrid identities, ambivalence, border-crossings, and metamorphoses) and stylistic features (e.g. codeswitching, metaphors, and allusions). Arguing that literature plays a key role in enabling readers to make better sense of migrants’ life narratives, this paper seeks to shed light on how literary translation may transfer communicative complexities, unravelling the emotional and psychological aspects of the migrant experience that manifests itself in literary texts. In this context, the study will focus on Mohsin Hamid’s (2017) Exit West and its Turkish translation Batı Çıkışı (2019). The analysis of the source and target texts will be carried out in light of the discursive strategies listed by Teun van Dijk (2005, 2018) in his study of various discourses on migrancy. Ultimately, this paper emphasises that even though the idea of translation as an ethical act is not new in the context of migration, reconsidering the ethical significance of creating awareness through literary translation is significant. The study hence places special emphasis on the recreation of the discursive strategies in fictional accounts in order to (re)present migrants who might otherwise become silent and mute.

DOI :10.26650/LITERA2021-925261   IUP :10.26650/LITERA2021-925261    Full Text (PDF)

Mohsin Hamid’in Exit West Romanı Işığında Göçmen Yazını ve Çeviri

Hilal Erkazancı Durmuş

Göçmen yazını, göçmen deneyimleri üzerine oluşturulan ve gerçek yaşam anlatılarına alternatif bir düşünme ve ifade şekli sağlayan metinlerden oluşmaktadır; bu nedenle, göçmen yazınının çevirisinde (melez kimlikler, kararsızlık, sınır geçişleri ve dönüşüm gibi) içerik özellikleri ve (kod kaydırma, metafor ve anıştırma gibi) biçemsel özelliklerin aktarımı büyük bir önem kazanmıştır. Yazın metinleri sayesinde göçmen anlatılarına dair önemli bir farkındalık yaratıldığını vurgulayan bu çalışmada, göç deneyiminin duygusal ve psikolojik boyutlarını ortaya koyan iletişimsel ipuçlarınının çeviriye nasıl aktarıldığı mercek altına alınacaktır. Bu bağlamda, Mohsin Hamid’in (2017) Exit West romanı ve romanın Türkçe çevirisi Batı Çıkışı (2019) incelenecektir. İnceleme, Teun van Dijk’ın (2005, 2018) göçmenler hakkındaki söylemleri konu aldığı çalışmasında kullandığı söylem stratejilerinin ışığında yürütülecektir. Göç bağlamında çeviri ediminin etik bir boyutunun olduğu uzun zamandır dile getirilen bir konu olsa da göçmen temsilinde yazın çevirisinin önemine de ayrı bir vurgu yapmak gerekir. Başka bir deyişle, göçmen anlatılarını medya ve toplum çevirmenliği kapsamında çeviren yazılı ve sözlü çevirmenler gibi, göçmen yazını çevirmenleri de etik bir sorumluluğa sahiptir. Bunun nedeni, yazın çevirisinde kullanılan söylem stratejilerinin göçmenlere özel bir ses kazandırması ve toplumdaki farkındalık düzeyini söylem yoluyla artırmasıdır. Bu farkındalığın mevcut olmadığı durumlarda göçmenler çoğu zaman suskun ve marjinal ‘ötekiler’ olarak ön plana çıkmaktadır. Çalışmanın sonunda, etik bir değer olarak farkındalık yaratmada başvurulan çeviri ediminin önemi ortaya konulmuştur.


EXTENDED ABSTRACT


This study sets out to explore how fictional accounts of migrant narratives are reconstructed through literary translation. Discursive features (e.g. us and them discourse, code-switching, metaphors, allusions, and the like) in migrant writing serve as strategic elements in reinforcing the role literary translation plays in the representation of migrants. As Moira Inghilleri and Loredana Polezzi (2020, p. 32) emphasise, translators ‘have an ethical responsibility to the voices and to the narratives of those who are positioned as the weaker party in the exchange […]’. In this context, it is reasonable to argue that not only the translation of migrants’ life narratives, but also the translation of fictional accounts spotlights an ethical dimension, since both influence the (re) presentation of the ‘other’

In light of these points, this study focuses on the Turkish translation of Mohsin Hamid’s Exit West, which was published in 2017, a year before the number of forcibly displaced people worldwide had reached an all-time high (UNHCR 2019). Given that Hamid’s narrative of the European migration crisis enhances literary discussions of current global migrant crises, the study argues that the translation of his novel would play a key role in renarrating how migrants are devoid of their inalineable rights and become ‘others’. 

Before analyzing Exit West and its Turkish translation, the study notes that migrant writing contributes to the enlargement of the frontiers of translation to include selftranslation performed by migrant writers who compose works in the language of their host countries. To apply Ngugi Wa Thiong’o’s (2009, p. 18) words to the present context, migrant writing can be seen as an ‘exercise in mental translation’ since migrant writers ‘translate’ themselves by reproducing their cultural specificity in a foreign way (Asad 1986, Bhabha 1994). That is, migrant writing constitutes a form of cultural translation that involves more of a process based upon the movement of the people than the movement of texts. In this context, the analysis of how Hamid’s self-translation is transferred to the Turkish language will be carried out in line with Teun van Dijk’s (2005, 2018) framework, which sheds light on a discourse analytical method for the study of migration. The present study explores, in the words of van Dijk (2018, p. xx), ‘the many ways migration discourse is structured, how it expresses underlying mental models, attitudes and ideologies, and what social and political functions such discourses have’.

At this juncture, it is significant to note that Hamid’s style ‘mimics’ the thematic content throughout the novel (Lagji, 2018, p. 2); hence, his text requires the translator’s active role in the generation of literary meaning. The analysis shows that the Turkish translation mirrors the source text’s ‘winding sentences whose words wander across the page, accumulating clauses until the period end point’ (Lagji, 2018, p. 2). It is worth noting here that the long syntax of the source-text sentences seems to denote the long waiting period involved almost in every immigration process. Note also that Hamid’s novel wittily unravels the objectification and delegitimization of migrants in the world. As the analysis illustrates, the Turkish translation diligently recreates the source text’s dehumanizing metaphors, which prevail in the public debates about migration. The target text’s reproduction of those metaphorical expressions is of vital importance for the reception of Hamid’s text in the target society (e.g. for facilitating readerly identification with migrants) because the source text, by and large, deconstructs the mythical narratives (e.g. the construction of a stereotypical migrant identity) that marginalize migrants in line with an ‘us and them’ discourse. The Turkish translation further recreates the source text’s allusions that refer to the key texts in migrant writing and postcolonial literature which foreground the liminal position of the ‘other’. This study concludes that the discursive strategies used in the Turkish translation (re)present the social manifestations of migrancy. 


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APA

Erkazancı Durmuş, H. (2022). Migrant Writing and Translation: The Case of Mohsin Hamid’s Exit West in Turkish. Litera: Journal of Language, Literature and Culture Studies, 32(1), 139-164. https://doi.org/10.26650/LITERA2021-925261


AMA

Erkazancı Durmuş H. Migrant Writing and Translation: The Case of Mohsin Hamid’s Exit West in Turkish. Litera: Journal of Language, Literature and Culture Studies. 2022;32(1):139-164. https://doi.org/10.26650/LITERA2021-925261


ABNT

Erkazancı Durmuş, H. Migrant Writing and Translation: The Case of Mohsin Hamid’s Exit West in Turkish. Litera: Journal of Language, Literature and Culture Studies, [Publisher Location], v. 32, n. 1, p. 139-164, 2022.


Chicago: Author-Date Style

Erkazancı Durmuş, Hilal,. 2022. “Migrant Writing and Translation: The Case of Mohsin Hamid’s Exit West in Turkish.” Litera: Journal of Language, Literature and Culture Studies 32, no. 1: 139-164. https://doi.org/10.26650/LITERA2021-925261


Chicago: Humanities Style

Erkazancı Durmuş, Hilal,. Migrant Writing and Translation: The Case of Mohsin Hamid’s Exit West in Turkish.” Litera: Journal of Language, Literature and Culture Studies 32, no. 1 (Dec. 2022): 139-164. https://doi.org/10.26650/LITERA2021-925261


Harvard: Australian Style

Erkazancı Durmuş, H 2022, 'Migrant Writing and Translation: The Case of Mohsin Hamid’s Exit West in Turkish', Litera: Journal of Language, Literature and Culture Studies, vol. 32, no. 1, pp. 139-164, viewed 5 Dec. 2022, https://doi.org/10.26650/LITERA2021-925261


Harvard: Author-Date Style

Erkazancı Durmuş, H. (2022) ‘Migrant Writing and Translation: The Case of Mohsin Hamid’s Exit West in Turkish’, Litera: Journal of Language, Literature and Culture Studies, 32(1), pp. 139-164. https://doi.org/10.26650/LITERA2021-925261 (5 Dec. 2022).


MLA

Erkazancı Durmuş, Hilal,. Migrant Writing and Translation: The Case of Mohsin Hamid’s Exit West in Turkish.” Litera: Journal of Language, Literature and Culture Studies, vol. 32, no. 1, 2022, pp. 139-164. [Database Container], https://doi.org/10.26650/LITERA2021-925261


Vancouver

Erkazancı Durmuş H. Migrant Writing and Translation: The Case of Mohsin Hamid’s Exit West in Turkish. Litera: Journal of Language, Literature and Culture Studies [Internet]. 5 Dec. 2022 [cited 5 Dec. 2022];32(1):139-164. Available from: https://doi.org/10.26650/LITERA2021-925261 doi: 10.26650/LITERA2021-925261


ISNAD

Erkazancı Durmuş, Hilal. Migrant Writing and Translation: The Case of Mohsin Hamid’s Exit West in Turkish”. Litera: Journal of Language, Literature and Culture Studies 32/1 (Dec. 2022): 139-164. https://doi.org/10.26650/LITERA2021-925261



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Submitted21.04.2021
Accepted21.02.2022
Published Online17.05.2022

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