Köçürmə: Translational Activism in South Azerbaijani Literature
Faculty of Foreign Languages and Literatures, University of Tehran
Studying every individual minority language from a translational perspective can hopefully improve our understanding of both Translation Studies in general and the status of that minority language in particular. A redrawing of national boundaries, as Cronin discussed (1994, 1998; see also Baker, 2009, pp. 169-172), is one of the factors that can change the political, economic and cultural position of a language and consequently move the language to a minor or major status. Correspondingly, after the bifurcation of Azerbaijan in 1828, the region was separated into North Azerbaijan (the present-day Republic of Azerbaijan) and South Azerbaijan (the northwest Iran) which in turn resulted in two individual literatures (Akpınar, 1994; User, 2006; Eker, 2010). Since then, the Azerbaijani language has experienced two different statuses, one as the lingua franca in North, and the other as a peripheral language in South. Moreover, using different alphabets in the two regions has accordingly created a unique form of translation for exchanging texts between these two literatures. Köçürmə is an idiomatic type of transliterating an Azerbaijani text written in Latin/Perso-Arabic/Cyrillic script into an Azerbaijani text rewritten in Latin/Perso-Arabic/Cyrillic script (Karimi & Yaghmuri, 2013). Investigating the nature and status of this translational activism, i.e. Köçürmə, and its impact on the identity of the Azerbaijanis in South is the main goal of this paper. We applied Cronin’s (1994) spatial/diachronic framework to outline the status of Azerbaijani in South and subsequently studied the role of Köçürmə in making a uniform identity among the South Azerbaijanis. The findings showed that Azerbaijani has a minority position in Iran and Köçürme, by importing and thus generating identical texts in both literatures, drives this language to a close proximity of the North Azerbaijani literature. Thus, this facilitates the process of making a uniform identity for the Azerbaijanis in South.
Keywords: Minority, Identity, Translation, Azerbaijan, Köçürmə
Bio: Amin Yaghmouri received his B.A and M.A. in English Translation Studies from the Azad University of Tabriz. He is currently a student of Master’s degree in French Translation Studies at the University of Tehran. His M.A. thesis was an investigation of the laws of interference in South Azerbaijani literature. His main areas of interest include polysystem theory, minority languages, and translation and identity.