TRANSLATING PSYCHOANALYTIC PAPERS: WHICH CRITERIA?
Bella Habip, Founding editor of the Turkish Annual (2009-2013)
Paper presented at the Annuals Panel, 22nd Congress of The European Psychoanalytical Federation, Brussels, 2009.
The Turkish Annual, to be launched with its first issue in April 2009, will be published by the well renowned Yapı Kredi Publishing, which specializes in the fields of literature, philosophy, social sciences and humanities. 1600 copies of the journal will be printed.
I felt obliged to begin my presentation with such an introduction, because as you will see, the content of our Annual and our choice of articles very much takes into consideration the readership of the publishing house. In this respect we can say that the publishing house defines the external framework of our journal.
Yet there is of course an internal framework which stands in relation to the above mentioned external frame. Our editorial board consists of six people. We have one analyst and five candidates who are at varying levels of their psychoanalytic training , and we are all members of an association which is soon to apply to the IPA in order to become a study group . Thus our editorial board entails diverse dynamics with different qualities . Last year, three of our members translated the first volume of M. Klein’s collected works, and the book was published by another publisher (Kanat Publishing). All the candidates on the board are attending to the theoretical and clinical seminars sponsored by the IPA at the association. All members also have a shared training background, and are active in different formations for translation and publication of conference documents, and seminar translations. Two of our members are both Anglophone and Francophone, the rest are only Anglophone. Of course, Turkish is our native language. But I can’t say the same for the language of psychoanalysis. We have all accessed psychoanalytical texts in a foreign language. While the translation of psychoanalytical texts to Turkish remains limited, those of good quality are even more scarce. This challenge will also reflect in our criteria, as we also see the Annual as an attempt to fill in this gap. Just to provide an example, for this first issue of the annual, we have selected the work of Willy and Madeleine Baranger, and Beatrice de Leon’s article on the significance of Barangers’ work on the foundation of the Argentine Psychoanalytic Society. Through this article, which has not previously been translated into Turkish, we’ve been able to introduce the Barangers’ article to the Turkish readers. And of course we’ve thus added M. and W. Baranger’s article to the body of translated literature.
Now, coming to the topic of our panel, Translating psychoanalytic papers: Which criteria? As the editorial board, we decided to make our selection in the following manner: First of all, we agreed to try to do the translations internally, as opposed to finding an outside translator, and only use the latter in cases really necessary. As soon as the first issues of IJP were published, our staff, who was interested in translating, proposed the articles they unanimously considered worth translating to the board. We then began to establish the criteria for translation. But the choice and interest of the individual translators emerged as an implicit criteria. We opened up these personal choices to discussion and came to the following conclusion: This does not mean we’ve established absolute criteria, as we are only at the beginning of this project, but it would be fair to say we have agreed upon main criteria.
- Our first criteria turned out to be that the article should be appropriate for the target group of readers. We initially conceived this target group as mental health professionals, but also took into consideration the cultural context of psychoanalysis. Therefore, we decided to include articles on literature, philosophy, music and cinema in each issue as well. Along this line, for this issue we decided to include Brett Marie Schiller’s essay which explores theoretical issues such as diversity, alterity and the other that contemporary psychoanalysis deals with, in the film “Yes”, and Richard Rusbridger’s article ‘The Internal World of Don Giovanni” which investigates the psychic functioning (in the context of projective identification) through music. In Bria and Lombardi’s article, “The Logic of Turmoil”, which could be regarded as a collaborative work of psychoanalysis and philosophy, we wanted to introduce the thought of Matte Blanco.
- We’ve established our second criteria as articles exploring contemporary issues emerging via psychoanalytic treatment. In Turkey, the general perception is that psychoanalysis is an outdated mode of treatment, which only a bunch of aristocrats can access. We wanted to challenge this prejudice, which is especially towards the professionals. An example of this is our choice of the beautiful article by Lingiardi on how the virtual relationship formed over emails becomes part of the treatment. With this same objective, we also included Juan Pablo Jimenez’s article ‘Theoretical Plurality and Pluralism in Psychoanalytic Practice’ which explores the relationship the psychoanalyst forms with theories with reference to his/her own clinical environment.
- As I mentioned above, another criteria we have is to close the gap constituted by the lack of translations of main psychoanalytical texts, or the poor quality of the existing ones, with the Annual. Therefore we decided to include articles, which allude to theoretical reference texts as well. This is why we chose to include the article of Beatrice de Leon on the Barangers, and M and W. Baranger’s article itself. For the same reason we selected articles by Green and Kernberg: in orderto introduce these renowned contemporary psychoanalysts who have not previously been extensively translated to the Turkish reader.
In summary, our selection consisted of texts addressing main issues of psychoanalysis, texts by “auteurs” not yet translated into Turkish and articles reflecting the multiple facets of psychoanalysis (music, cinema and philosophy), with the condition that we take into consideration our target group of readers. And of course we also prioritized articles reflecting the projection of contemporary psychoanalysis into clinical practice.
To conclude, I can say that the Annual is an immaculate project in terms of an initiative of a newly forming psychoanalytic society in finding a language and thus an identity for itself through the translation of psychoanalytical texts.
Through the“intimate relationship” established with the “stranger” both in terms of language and science, it is for certain that the Annuals which, by virtue of translation, as Paul Ricoeur states, “ host the word of the stranger in his own house”, will lead to the internalization of different psychoanalytical cultures. Furthermore, it is for certain that psychoanalysis in Turkish will gain a new momentum through texts translated to Turkish via concepts, contexts and schools reconsidered in Turkish .
I couldn’t help but think after this intense and elaborate project of the translation, editing and rethinking concepts in Turkish; how about if candidates at the end of their training when they validate their courses translate a previously not translated text into Turkish and write a paper on why they’ve chosen to translate the article in that particular way? Wouldn’t such a practice both generate new candidates for translation and also make a significant contribution to the theoretical seminars in the training programs?
Paul Ricoeur, Sur la traduction, Paris: Ed. Bayard, 2006.