Self-Translation as Testimony: Halide Edib Rewrites The Turkish Ordeal

  • Mehtap Ozdemir
Part of the Palgrave Studies in Translating and Interpreting book series (PTTI)


This chapter looks at the phenomenon of self-translation not just as a case of textual migration of works between cultures, but also as a case of lingual migration of author-translator. The comparative examination of the memoirs of Halide Edib in the English version The Turkish Ordeal (1928) and in its self-translated Turkish edition published as Türk’ün Ateşle İmtihanı [Turk’s Ordeal With Fire] in 1962 shows how and why a Turkish woman writer decides to write and rewrite the national history and the self-narration when addressing two different audiences. Reframing self-translation as rewriting, the study reads Halide Edib’s process of self-translation as a case of strategic self-censorship that entails partial and multilateral ideological and linguistic alignments. For Edib’s initial choice of English as her narrative space emerges an example of self-translation as a means to promote the positive development of the self, while the Turkish translation of the memoir is carried out to pre-empt the charges of political, cultural and literary treason from its Turkish audience. Read together with the Turkish version, the English memoir acquires the status of testimonial writing, merging self-narration with national history. This act of self-translation, therefore, explores one of the most profound relationships with national history, authorial identity and language.


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Copyright information

© The Author(s) 2017

Authors and Affiliations

  • Mehtap Ozdemir
    • 1
  1. 1.University of Massachusetts–AmherstAmherstUSA

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