Exploring Agency in Translation: The Case of the Early Culture-Planners During the Republican Period in Turkey

Exploring Agency in Translation: The Case of the Early Culture-Planners During the Republican Period in Turkey

Seyhan Bozkurt (Okan University, Turkey)
Copyright: © 2018 |Pages: 19
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-5225-2832-6.ch011
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Abstract

This chapter explores the work and impact of Remzi Bengi and Yasar Nabi Nayir, two significant figures in the realm of culture planning and cultural exchange during the early Republican Period in Turkey. Bengi was an editor and the owner of Remzi Publishing House, a renowned publishing house, whilst Yasar Nabi Nayir, also an editor and publisher, was the proprietor of the journal Varlik and the Varlik Publishing House. This chapter argues that, in light of their significant contributions to publishing and translation activities of the period in question and their pioneering roles in the development of new culture repertoires and the cultural evolution of the same period, they should not be seen simply as editors and publishers but also as idea-makers, culture entrepreneurs and, indeed, “carriers” of life images.
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Background

Şehnaz Tahir Gürçağlar (2009, p. 163), in her article ‘A Cultural Agent Against the Forces of Culture: Hasan Âli Yücel’, emphasizes the fact that, though perhaps still not adequate, most studies on the concept of agency have focused on the translator as an active agent in the field of translation studies. She introduces Hasan Âli Yücel as a cultural agent, or agent of change, who was not directly connected with the production of translation but who contributed greatly to translation activities during the early Republican Period roughly between the years 1938-1946 when he served as the Minister of Education. In his capacity as a major political figure, who founded the state-sponsored Translation Bureau and the Village Institutesin 1940, Yücel also launched the influential journal of translation Tercüme in 1940. Tahir Gürçağlar (2009, p. 164) defines agents of culture as “individuals who are equipped with special assets and abilities”. She makes use of Pierre Bourdieu’s description of these agents as possessing a special type of “capital” and goes on to say that as agents, “they at times have cultural or economic capital, or both, yet there is little doubt that they hold a vast amount of “symbolic capital”, i.e. “accumulated prestige, celebrity, consecration or honour” (Bourdieu, 1993, as cited in Tahir Gürçağlar 2009, p. 164). In her article, she draws attention to the significance of focusing on translational agents, not only those who produce translations but also those that are ‘further away’ from the textual production of translations, such as Hasan Âli Yücel (Bourdieu, 1993, as cited in Tahir Gürçağlar 2009, p. 164).

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