There are few more cutting words in a language you don’t speak fluently than the word foreigner. In Greek the word, xenos, bites into your skin, pins you down into the character of the other, even though at its simplest form it means to not be of the place.
My first encounter with Seferis was through a bilingual edition of his work translated by Edmund Keeley and Philip Sherrard. Until I read Seferis’s work, I hadn’t known Greek could be so beautiful, moving, and meaningful, even though I didn’t understand all of it at the time.
These days living and working as a writer in Istanbul requires a bravery that most American writers have never imagined they would have to muster, a bravery far beyond what it already takes to put pen to paper.
Dr. Aron Aji is a highly accomplished translator with a range of work under his belt, from Turkish writers that include Elif Shafak, Murathan Mungan, Bilge Karasu, and Latife Tekin. We chatted about his background, how Bilge Karasu subverts the stereotypical Turkish identity, and the internalization of exile.
I spoke with Dr. Erdağ Göknar, an award-winning scholar, poet, and translator, about how his diaspora background contributes to his work, his approach to translation as a creative act, and the limiting factor of editorial expectations in publishing Turkish texts in translation.
I had the honor of speaking with Dr. Mutlu Konuk Blasing and Randy Blasing, the formidable translators of Nazım Hikmet. The Blasings have translated six books of Hikmet's poetry together, and on their own they have a long record of contributions to scholarship and poetry.
Amy Spangler is the co-founder of the Turkish literary agency, AnatoliaLit, and a translator of several novels from Turkish to English. Amy's latest translation, Noontime in Yenişehir, was published by Milet Publishing last year.
Derick Mattern is an accomplished poet and translator of Turkish poetry. I spoke with him about his approach to translation, why he believes that all poets should translate, and how he wanted his time in Turkey to be very Turkish.
Since Chad Post, founding publisher of Open Letter Books, created The Three Percent blog in 2007, the term the “three percent” has become a household one to highlight the percentage of translated books published in the United States.
Despite having read and enjoyed works in translation like Christos Ikonomou's Something Will Happen, You'll See and Burhan Sönmez's İstanbul, İstanbul, I know that the full range of works in translation this year alone is vast (580 books according to Three Percent's 2016 database).