I see each book as being deeply connected with the culture it comes from. Therefore, I believe when translating a book, the translator of choice should do a little background research, ask around, and basically get to know the author and his/her culture. Just knowing the language is really not enough.
Especially when the book is written in one language by an author coming from a different culture. Like Elif Shafak’s ‘The Bastard of Istanbul’. I’ve previously written a bit on this book and it’s translation. But this translation comes back to haunt me.
I cannot understand why the translator has been so lazy as to overlook entire sentences written in Turkish..Yes, you got that right, no translation at all! How stupid can that be? And then, she amazes me again with her ignorance. She states “Elhamdulillah” is in Turkish in the original text!!! Hello??? That’s Arabic. Not Turkish. Maybe, just maybe, if you’d checked first, someone would have taken pitty on you and told you there are a lot of Arabic phrases used by Turks, most of the related to religious rituals.
I’ve wrote a letter to Polirom, the publishing house on this, and now I am really curious to see their reply.