Year 2018, Volume 1 , Issue 1, Pages 92 - 120 2018-12-25

A New (Mis)Conception in the Face of the (Un)Translatable: ‘Terscüme’

Muhammed BAYDERE [1]

The purpose of this article is to examine the concept of ‘terscüme,’ a notion recently introduced to the Turkish literary system through the translation of James Joyce’s Finnegans Wake, with a focus on the translator’s possible reasons or motives for coining the term. Seventy-seven years after the novel’s completion by Joyce, Finnegans Wake was translated into Turkish twice in 2016, despite lingering doubts and controversy regarding its translatability. Interestingly enough, the first translation titled Finneganın Vahı was released as a ‘terscüme,’ a word derived from the Turkish word tercüme (translation). Having certain negative implications for the work as a translation, ‘terscüme’ could be translated into English as ‘counter-translation,’ ‘inverse translation,’ or ‘contrary translation,’ among other possibilities. In addition, the translator intentionally presents himself as a ‘Turkicizer,’ as opposed to a ‘translator.’ In order to discover the translator’s reasons for placing a seemingly negative cast on the ‘translation’ of this so-called ‘untranslatable’ work, this article considers paratextual elements (Genette 1997) as a research tool and supports them with textual elements. This study argues that what gave rise to the concept of ‘terscüme’ could be the translator’s reticence to assume the essentialist responsibility that would be imposed on a work called a ‘translation’ and designated by the name ‘translator’. The study concludes that the essentialist perspective on translation may cause the translator to avoid that title and seek to attain visibility under different names for himself/herself and his/her work.

terscüme, untranslatability, translator’s invisibility, essentialism, Finnegans Wake
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Primary Language en
Journal Section Articles

Author: Muhammed BAYDERE


Publication Date : December 25, 2018

Bibtex @research article { translogos502530, journal = {transLogos Translation Studies Journal}, issn = {}, eissn = {2667-4629}, address = {}, publisher = {Diye Yayınları}, year = {2018}, volume = {1}, pages = {92 - 120}, doi = {}, title = {A New (Mis)Conception in the Face of the (Un)Translatable: ‘Terscüme’}, key = {cite}, author = {Baydere, Muhammed} }
APA Baydere, M . (2018). A New (Mis)Conception in the Face of the (Un)Translatable: ‘Terscüme’ . transLogos Translation Studies Journal , 1 (1) , 92-120 . Retrieved from
MLA Baydere, M . "A New (Mis)Conception in the Face of the (Un)Translatable: ‘Terscüme’" . transLogos Translation Studies Journal 1 (2018 ): 92-120 <>
Chicago Baydere, M . "A New (Mis)Conception in the Face of the (Un)Translatable: ‘Terscüme’". transLogos Translation Studies Journal 1 (2018 ): 92-120
RIS TY - JOUR T1 - A New (Mis)Conception in the Face of the (Un)Translatable: ‘Terscüme’ AU - Muhammed Baydere Y1 - 2018 PY - 2018 N1 - DO - T2 - transLogos Translation Studies Journal JF - Journal JO - JOR SP - 92 EP - 120 VL - 1 IS - 1 SN - -2667-4629 M3 - UR - Y2 - 2021 ER -
EndNote %0 transLogos Translation Studies Journal A New (Mis)Conception in the Face of the (Un)Translatable: ‘Terscüme’ %A Muhammed Baydere %T A New (Mis)Conception in the Face of the (Un)Translatable: ‘Terscüme’ %D 2018 %J transLogos Translation Studies Journal %P -2667-4629 %V 1 %N 1 %R %U
ISNAD Baydere, Muhammed . "A New (Mis)Conception in the Face of the (Un)Translatable: ‘Terscüme’". transLogos Translation Studies Journal 1 / 1 (December 2018): 92-120 .
AMA Baydere M . A New (Mis)Conception in the Face of the (Un)Translatable: ‘Terscüme’. transLogos Translation Studies Journal. 2018; 1(1): 92-120.
Vancouver Baydere M . A New (Mis)Conception in the Face of the (Un)Translatable: ‘Terscüme’. transLogos Translation Studies Journal. 2018; 1(1): 92-120.
IEEE M. Baydere , "A New (Mis)Conception in the Face of the (Un)Translatable: ‘Terscüme’", transLogos Translation Studies Journal, vol. 1, no. 1, pp. 92-120, Dec. 2018