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Author ORCID Identifier


Campus-Only Access for Five (5) Years

Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)

Degree Program

Comparative Literature

Year Degree Awarded


Month Degree Awarded


First Advisor

Edwin Gentzler

Second Advisor

Moira Inghilleri

Third Advisor

James Hicks

Fourth Advisor

Dilek Dizdar

Subject Categories

Intellectual History | Language Interpretation and Translation | Legal | Translation Studies


In this dissertation titled “Translator Agency in Turkey under Censorial Constraints: 1990s to the Present,” I explore the question of translator agency under an emerging authoritarian regime, i.e., the country of Turkey from the 1990s to the present. I first focus on institutional, structural, and self-imposed forms of censorship by reviewing a variety of scandalous translation cases that have generated much legal, academic, and public debate in contemporary Turkey. I then highlight various ethical, legal, and professional responsibilities ascribed to translators as a result of these findings. I next explore significant connecting points between translational behavior and various institutions of power, including the government, courts, publishing houses, and educational institutions. I argue that rethinking the issue of translator agency within a framework of censorship can shed light on both the unusual and imperceptible constraints that impinge on translational activity and, in turn, how those resulting translations further impact broader forms of cultural and literary development.

I concentrate upon two sets of translational phenomena in Turkey that converge on the interface of translator agency and censorship: (1) prosecution of translators on the grounds of their translations, and (2) cases of ideological manipulation. In the first group, the objectionable words or passages are clearly cited; in the second group, the objections to the translators’ decisions are less clear and are often labelled as “self-censorship” or “ideological distortion” in public discourse. My investigation of these cases is informed by the theoretical approaches of scholars advocating for the “power” and “social” turns in translation, censorship, and literary studies. Translation is indeed one of the spheres where the effects of an ideology are most visible because what is allowed and proscribed to exist in a culture is immediately reflected on the constraints surrounding the agents of translators, e.g., the translators, editors, publishers, and their resulting translational behavior. Further, by casting light on the multifaceted power relations between the agents of translation and institutions of power, this study on censorship and translation agency also contributes to ongoing studies of how larger systems of culture and literature evolve.


Available for download on Friday, May 10, 2024