Semantic Rhythm in Poetry Translation: Şinasi’s Tercüme-i Manzume

Gören E., Yılmaz Z. S.

in: Beiträge zum literarischen Übersetzen in der Türkei: Neue Aspekte und Perspektiven, Öncü Mehmet Tahir, Demirkıvıran Sine, Editor, Logos Verlag Berlin, Berlin, pp.165-180, 2022

  • Publication Type: Book Chapter / Chapter Vocational Book
  • Publication Date: 2022
  • Publisher: Logos Verlag Berlin
  • City: Berlin
  • Page Numbers: pp.165-180
  • Editors: Öncü Mehmet Tahir, Demirkıvıran Sine, Editor
  • Istanbul University Affiliated: Yes


Translations that enter a new literature always have to face the problem of adaptation. The translator oscillates between the oddity of a word-for-word translation and the readily accepted familiarity of the adapted one. Şinasi’s Tercüme-i Manzume, in which he translated selected lines from French authors such as Racine, Lamartine, La Fontaine, Gilbert and Fénelon, is a translation that faced such a problem within rhythmical issues. According to Meschonnic, rhythm is not a mere acoustic phenomenon. It is a meaning producer that appears in written texts as well as in spoken texts. Linguistically, rhythm is a perceptual regulator that can play a unique role in the activity of constraining the meaning. He defines rhythm, which emerges as a result of the act of translation of poetry, as a new organization of the word movement in writing. The presence of rhythm in translation, from meter to intonation, cannot be separated from the historicity of the subject and his discourse. Translation is a new operation of "ré-énonciation." This operation is nothing but the subject, his historicity, hence its rhythm. The subject, that is, the translator, creating a new rhythm is “politique du traduire.” Politique du traduire, on the other hand, is possible with poétisation. Since Şinasi’s Tercüme-i Manzume is one of the first translations from Western literature, it is also the pioneer of the formation of a new literary milieu. Şinasi applied both semantic and formal strategies and reflected his ideology in the process of "ré-énonciation" into the rhythm of his translations. Şinasi not only brought new topics to Ottoman literature in terms of meaning, but also adopted a more accessible literary approach by simplifying the language. In this study, we will examine how much Şinasi adhered to the formal rules of classical poetry in his translations and how he adapted rhythm of the source text in the context of historicity and ideology. Keywords: Şinasi, Translation, Rhythm, Poetry, Ideology.