The Ottoman Translation Activity in the Reformation Period

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Yazıcı M.

Journal of Turkish Studies, vol.13, no.20, pp.845-853, 2018 (Peer-Reviewed Journal)

  • Publication Type: Article / Article
  • Volume: 13 Issue: 20
  • Publication Date: 2018
  • Journal Name: Journal of Turkish Studies
  • Journal Indexes: TR DİZİN (ULAKBİM)
  • Page Numbers: pp.845-853
  • Istanbul University Affiliated: Yes


Turkish was acknowledged as a colloquial language since the foundation of the Ottoman Empire in 1342 up till the Reformation period in 1839. Accordingly, the main questions of this paper can be enlisted as follows: first, why Turkish language has not been considered appropriate for scientific language; Next, what stages Turkish colloquial language has gone through in developing into a scientific language in terms of translation activity in history, and finally what was the impact of translation activity in terminology formation after the long ages of the supremacy of foreign languages. During the reign of Ottoman Empire the official and scientific language was maintained in Ottoman Turkish, which was mainly composed of Turkish, Arabic and Persian words, or terms. The medium of education especially in madrasas, which were institutions of higher education during the reign of Ottoman Empire, was mainly Arabic since Arabic scientific knowledge was assumed as a basis in shaping the curriculums of madrasas. However, the military and economic decline of the Empire compelled the Ottoman intellectuals to orientate towards the Western knowledge to keep with the times, and survive amongst other nations. Accordingly, this paper studies in what way Turkish colloquial language develop into Turkish scientific language within the coverage of translation activity in Ottoman science history. The three factors that laid the foundations of Turkish terminology formation as well as Turkish scientific language is subsumed under three categories. They are newly founded imperial or civil colleges, state run or civil scientific academies, and publications in the form terminological studies as an extension of the textbooks and scientific journals issued by Ottoman scientific academies, respectively.