It has been officially announced that Turkey will be the Country of Honor at the 2014 Beijing Int’l Book Fair, as China was at the Istanbul In’tl Book Fair this year.
A dearth of Turkish-to-Chinese translators means Turkish works like this are often translated from the English
Which raises several questions:
- What contemporary works of fiction by Turkish authors are already available in Chinese?
- Which additional novels are to be published in time for the Beijing Book Fair in late August 2014?
- Who is going to translate them, and what language(s) will they be translated from?
My table below—which I believe is fairly comprehensive—helps to answer some of these questions, but it’s hard to believe that the Turkish publishing industry would be content with such a short list of works in Chinese.
For its part, Turkey’s government-sponsored TEDA, a program under the Ministry of Culture & Tourism that subsidizes translations and publications into many languages, has offered financial support to the translation and publication of 16 books into Chinese, of which 10 have been published so far.
While that may sound like a decent effort, over the years TEDA has subsidized an incredible 1,333 titles, the top recipients being German (209), Bulgarian (169) and Iranian (66).
Surely Turkey’s government sees a bigger potential market in China than in . . . Bulgaria?
Regardless of who bankrolls the publication of Turkish works to be launched in time for the Beijing Book Fair, another pressing problem is their translation. There are reportedly only a handful of professional Chinese translators who can handle literary translation straight from the Turkish. Shen Zhixing, Xia Yongmin, Yin Tingting and Tang Jiankun do; several of the others listed in the table below can’t.
One solution—already widely used—is to translate into Chinese from an existing translation in English, or even German. Another approach would be to form translation teams that include native Turkish speakers with Chinese fluency who could generate draft translations, which could then be polished for publication by a native Chinese translator or monolingual editor; this would be faster, at least. But native Turkish speakers with excellent Chinese fluency are also reportedly in short supply.
Modern Turkish Fiction Available in Chinese
(as of Nov 2013)
(Your additions welcome)
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