Syntactic Initiatives in the Translation of Yunus Emre’s Poems from Turkish to FrenchYusuf Polat
Translation practitioners know that translating literary discourse is a relatively difficult activity. This difficulty is directly related to the phonological, lexical, and syntactic features of the input as well as its semantic and cultural dimensions. Poetry is a particularly difficult type of text; since form and content create an inseparable whole in poetry, one cannot be ignored or sacrificed in favor of the other. Many scholars even argue that poetry is a type of discourse that cannot be translated. The poems of Yunus Emre, one of the universal folk poets of Turkish poetry, have been translated into many languages, including French translations by Tahsin Saraç. This study first identifies the general features of poetry discourse and then describes poetry translation from a literary perspective. The second part of the study analyzes the translations by Tahsin Saraç.
Yunus Emre Şiirlerinin Türkçeden Fransızcaya Çevirisinde Sözdizimsel GirişimlerYusuf Polat
Çeviri uygulamacıları yazınsal söylemin çevirisinin daha güç bir etkinlik olduğunu bilirler. Bu güçlük girdinin sesbilimsel, sözcüksel ve sözdizimsel özelliklerinin yanı sıra, anlamsal ve kültürel boyutları ile de doğrudan ilişkilidir. Şiirde biçim ile içerik ayrılmaz bir bütün oluşturduklarından birinin öteki lehine göz ardı edilmesi şiirin doğasına zarar verebilmektedir. Bu yönüyle şiir çevirisi çevrilebilirlik tartışmasına da konu edilmektedir. Tartışma taraflarının büyük bir bölümüne göre de şiir çevrilemeyen bir söylem türüdür. Türk şiirinin evrensel halk şairlerinden Yunus Emre’nin şiirleri birçok dile çevrilmiştir. Diğerleri arasında bu çeviriler Fransızcaya Tahsin Saraç tarafından yapılmıştır. Bu çalışmada öncelikle şiir söyleminin genel özelliklerinden söz edilmekte, şiir çevirisi ana çizgileriyle betimlenmekte ve çeviriyi yazınsal bakış açısıyla açıklamaya çalışan yaklaşımlar kısaca tanıtılmaktadır. Son aşamada Tahsin Saraç tarafından yapılan şiir çevirilerinde kullanılan çevirmen girişimlerinin bir dökümü yapılmakta ve örneklendirilmektedir.
The approaches used by translators and the decisions they make when converting any source language input to target language output are called methods or strategies in the scientific literature of translation. In this study, the sentence-level translation preferences adopted by the translator, specifically for poem inputs translation, are examined. Thus, following the comparative description of the source language text and the target language text, we reviewed data in the form of 10 poems belonging to Yunus Emre, translated by Tahsin Saraç in 1973. We felt the data obtained from this research may be useful in creating resources that can be developed for the training of translators.
First, brief information about poetry as an input type is given in the study, and the different points of view regarding untranslatable poems are identified. The translation of poetry presents serious difficulties as it is a genre in which the relationship between form and content is particularly important; however, it is also highlighted that many poets are internationally recognized, owing to the outstandingly successful translations of poetry in the historical process.
After the poetry translation methods, the translation strategies known in the literature are summarized. To this end, semantic and communicative translation methods, translation approaches at lexical and supra-lexical levels, and the concepts of direct and indirect translation processes are explained.
In the section where research information is given, some studies on the translation of Yunus Emre’s poems are briefly presented to determine what interventions were made at the sentence level. (Our study does not address translation criticism.) In addition, the translator’s strategy choices are limited only at the syntactic level. In other words, the translator’s attempts to affect the level of the sentence have been taken into account.
Some of the results obtained from the sentence-level descriptive research relate to the formal aspect of the poem, with a significant part involving translations aimed at the verb groups. The translator has chosen to translate all of the poems with two or four strings in the source text as two strings.
Another finding concerning the formal dimension of the poems in our database is related to rhymes. Saraç had to reduce a significant part of the rhymes included in all the source poems. This indicates that the translator focuses more on the dimension of the message and meaning in the poems than on the poem construction.
As for Saraç’s attempts at the syntactic level in translations of poetry, the first is based on changing the mode of action in the source text. The transformation from imperative in the source language to indicative in the target language and vice versa is one of Saraç’s preferences. Another type of intervention is the transformation of the verb in the infinitive to a conjugated verb.
Some of these examples include the reduction of the verb -imek which is the head of the verb phrase in the source language, and its transformation into an adjectival phrase formed with past participle in the target language; some others, in addition to the reduction of the same verb, are based on translation through adjectives created by other methods of derivation (crazy, impossible, etc.).
Another intervention by Saraç at the modal level is based on the translation of a verb in indicative mode into the source language by converting it into a present participle in the target language. This attempt results in the translator determining one of the two independent sentences as the main sentence, thus converting the other sentence into a subordinate clause. Saraç transforms some of the sentences of the source language into a prepositional group and transfers them to the target language. The modification of the verb type often results in an intervention at the syntactical level.
In conclusion, although a translation strategy must always be defined in the translation process, it is a concept that contains uncertainties. It is clear that the strategies presented under separate headings as a direct or indirect translation strategy cannot be definitively separated from each other, especially when languages with significant structural differences such as Turkish and French are involved.
Although the concept of translation strategy is not sufficient to fully explain the translation process, it is a concept that should be taught to candidate translators in translator training. A novice translator should be able to compare a particular translation product with its source input and determine the type of translator preferences and the reasons for those preferences.