Posted on 07/17/2019 at 10:00 AM by Sadye Scott-Hainchek

Translation is a delicate art based on language alone, let alone culture and politics.

The latest example: a Turkish translation of Paulo Coelho’s Eleven Minutes.

A line in the original reads: “She went into an internet cafe and discovered that the Kurds came from Kurdistan, a nonexistent country, now divided between Turkey and Iraq.”

As the Guardian reports, the Turkish translation concludes instead that “it was written on the internet that the Kurds lived in the Middle East.”

The past century hasn’t been kind to the Kurds; most recently, Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan’s political party, which had led crackdowns on the ethnic minority, banned the mention of Kurdistan.

All that said, the book’s publisher promised to correct future editions of Eleven Minutes, saying he wasn’t sure who was responsible for that alteration but that he supports the translator’s statement that she would not have done so.

Coelho is a Brazilian author most famous for The Alchemist.

Categories: Today in Books

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