The Pronoun “O” and the Poetics of Turkish Translation

The passage below is an excerpt from Sevinç Türkkan’s new translation of Aslı Erdoğan’s volume of short stories,The Stone Building and Other Places. It is accompanied by an interview with the translator in which she discusses the joys and challenges of translating from Turkish to English. Erdoğan is a well-known literary figure in Turkey. She is also a journalist and human rights activist who was imprisoned by the Turkish government after the failed coup attempt in 2016 because of her column in Özgür Gündem, a pro-Kurdish opposition newspaper. Türkkan’s new translation of this award-winning book introduces Erdoğan’s literary sensibility to an English-speaking audience. “The Beginning,” excerpted below, is the opening chapter of the titular novella.

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