Growing translation efforts fuel popularity of Chinese literature in Türkiye

Xinhua, 04 19, 2024

In a cozy hall at a publishing house in Istanbul, Türkiye's cultural hub, poets and writers from both China and Türkiye were gathering for a discussion themed around "Translation in Literature and Mutual Learning."

The seminar, organized by Kirmizi Kedi Publishing House on Monday, was a testament to the growing enthusiasm of Turks for Chinese literature, a trend that has seen a significant rise in recent years with the translation of more Chinese books into Turkish.

"China boasts a rich and vast culture, yet our understanding of it remains very narrow," said Enis Batur, a Turkish poet and writer, as he addressed the participants. "But thanks to the increased translation efforts from Chinese to Turkish, we are now able to broaden our knowledge of Chinese culture on a significant scale," he added.

In 2017, Batur noted a boost to the efforts in introducing Chinese culture to the Turkish population when Kirmizi Kedi initiated the publication of Modern Silk Road magazine, aiming to showcase the abundance and diversity of Chinese culture. The magazine features a variety of articles in Turkish, spanning topics such as Chinese cuisine, traditional medicine, and literature.

Subsequently, several award-winning novels by Chinese writers were translated into Turkish, offering Turkish readers a glimpse into the richness of Chinese literature.

"Such efforts represent a powerful stride in building an important literary connection" between the two sides, Batur said, adding that Turkish and Chinese publishing houses aspire to organize a cultural festival that encompasses not only literature but a range of other cultural activities.

Haluk Hepkon, head of Kirmizi Kedi, told Xinhua that the active participation of Turkish publishers in China's book fairs and various cultural events has further bolstered the ties between the two countries.

As a result of these endeavors, in January, Kirmizi Kedi opened an office within the World Sinology Center in Qingdao, Shandong Province, becoming the first Turkish publisher with an office in China, he said.

"In the upcoming period, we will continue to undertake numerous translation activities from Chinese, both novels and beyond, such as books on the Belt and Road Initiative," he added.

Founded in 2010, Kirmizi Kedi, or Red Cat in English, owns 16 stores across Türkiye.

"At the upcoming Beijing International Book Fair in June, we aim to reestablish agreements with our Chinese peers and inaugurate dedicated sections for Chinese literature across all our stores," Hepkon noted.

Deniz Iscan, a student from the history department at Istanbul's Yeditepe University, believes that reading Chinese literature in Turkish would undoubtedly bring about fresh perspectives, challenge prevailing Western narratives, and improve Turkish students' analytical skills.

"Additionally, I am also an avid fan of science fiction and fantasy novels, and my greatest desire is to see novels of these genres by young Chinese writers translated," Iscan told Xinhua.