Translation and westernisation in Turkey (from the 1840s to the 1980s)
This thesis examines the role and function translations played in Turkish history, especially within the framework of its Westernisation movement from the mid-nineteenth to the late twentieth centuries. A descriptive approach is adopted, aiming to identify cultural patterns which shape and reflect translational decisions and help to a better portrayal of the socio-cultural context of translation during the time span examined. To this end, the thesis seeks to describe in detail historical, political, literary and linguistic factors which have affected the translation activity. The main assumption of this thesis is that acculturation was used as the main strategy in translations from Western languages during the periods which were marked with an extensive translation activity, especially during the nineteenth century and the first decades of the Republican era. This acculturation strategy not only helped to enrich the target literary system, bringing new literary models (genres), new subject matter, developing the language and giving rise to a new Turkish literature, it also had an effect upon the broader socio-cultural polysystem, especially on the process of identity creation. The analysis of the social, political and cultural conditions and policies suggests that the status given both to the source and target cultures has been the main factor for the acculturation. As examined in the last part of the thesis, a shift of power relations in the Turkish context, especially after the 1980s, marked a new kind of an acculturation strategy and a certain movement of resistance. The thesis concludes that there is need to know more about different translation histories in order to learn more about the acculturation process and to move beyond a Eurocentric view, and an interdisciplinary approach should be taken for such research.