Translation of Cultural Heritage Texts: Terminological Problems


Écrire, traduire le voyage / Writing, translating travel, Antwerp, Belgium, 31 May - 01 June 2018, vol.1, no.1, pp.16-18

  • Publication Type: Conference Paper / Summary Text
  • Volume: 1
  • City: Antwerp
  • Country: Belgium
  • Page Numbers: pp.16-18
  • Istanbul University Affiliated: Yes


This presentation aims, as part of a Project that is conducted by a group of researchers at the English Translation and Interpreting Division of Istanbul University, at analysing the use of terminology in the Turkish-English texts that were prepared for the purpose of introducing cultural heritage sites. The analysis will be based on a theoretical frame of translation based textual analysis and strategies of translation of terminology. This presentation focuses on the terminological strategies employed in the process of translating the cultural heritage texts into English and the impact of terminological decisions on creating an image of a source culture.


The terminology-oriented analysis derives from the general research question of the impact of translation on representing the image of a country. The importance of the role of terminology in a target text in the presentation of the image of a country’s culture makes it also necessary to ask about the roles and profiles of the translators of cultural heritage texts as an end-point as well as the quality of the work they undertake. The translations seem to take place as part of an anonymous act since there is no mention of a translator in the sites where the texts are located.


Out of the cultural heritage sites that were listed in the corpus of the above-mentioned Project that is conducted in the Fatih vicinity of Istanbul, the proposed presentation will be limited with the use of terms in the source and target texts of the Tiled Kiosk (Çinili Köşk) which is located inside the complex of Istanbul Museums of Archaeology with its rich collection of Ottoman tile works. The Kiosk has a number of introductory texts with historical information on plates and boards placed in its exterior and interior areas for the purpose of introducing the site to its domestic and foreign visitors. The boards and posters of introduction mainly contain content-based information on the geographical and physical aspects of the building loaded in terminology of art history, architecture, decorative arts etc.


Our terminological analysis is based on the contrastive analysis of the Turkish/ source and English/ target texts. The Turkish-English lists of terms will be analysed by means of the theoretical frames of translation-based extratextual and intratextual analysis (Nord, 1997) and the strategies used in the transfer of terminology. The categorical analysis is compiled of both the borrowing strategy and the 3 strategies offered by Demircan (2012), namely, literal/ word-for-word rendering, paraphrasing, and explanation which together serve as part of the project with its categorical structure.


The terminological translation categories and respective strategies to be exemplified will serve as the reflection of the dominant translational objectives (understandability vs. acceptability) followed by the translator(s) of the texts studied here. The more literal the texts are, the less professional and expertised an outlook they compell. The presentation will also give us a chance to touch upon the issue of non-native Turkish translators of Turkish source texts into English and the importance of the proof-reading and correction (post-editing) by a native English speaker-writer.


One of the most important results to be attained seems to be the lack of the knowledge and background on the fields of specialty in question here as a reason for the low quality of rendering in the English/ target texts, which takes us to the issue of the linguistic and translational efficiencies (professionality, expertise) of the translators of the texts. It is also inferred that translators/ editors do not seem to have a common framework in the transfer of cultural heritage texts into English.