I was disappointed to read the Weekly’s article on the Pencere Publishing House and its Turkish translation of A Summer Without Dawn (“‘Pencere’ Publishes ‘A Summer Without Dawn’ in Turkish,” Armenian Weekly, Feb. 13, 2010).
In the second half of the article, the Weekly credits Pencere for publishing a Turkish translation of the Gomidas Institute’s critical edition of the 1916 British Parliamentary “Blue Book” The Treatment of Armenians in the Ottoman Empire… (Gomidas Institute, 2000, 2005).
I do not know how well Pencere has translated Hacikyan’s work, but they did a generally shoddy job of translating our edition of the Blue Book. There were too many translation mistakes, including mistakes that significantly changed critical sentences related to the Armenian Genocide.
While Pencere had our permission to translate our critical edition of the 1916 Blue Book into Turkish, I told them what I thought of their work when it appeared. Gomidas Institute never credited their work in public, and we forbade them to print additional copies. We did not make a public issue out of this whole episode because (a) their print run was small and (b) Sukru Elekdag, an arch-denier of the Armenian Genocide, had opened a court case against them. (Taner Akcam, who had an article inserted into Pencere’s introductory materials, was also one of the defendants).
The only authorized translation of the Blue Book into Turkish was published by the Gomidas Institute last year. I would not like the readers of the Armenian Weekly, or anyone else, to think that the Pencere translation of the Blue Book was simply another edition of that work. It was not. It was a poor translation. That is the reason why the Gomidas Institute proceeded with an authorized publication of its own in 2009.
Gomidas Institute, London
Ara Sarafian is an archival historian and the executive director of the Gomidas Institute. His works include James Bryce and Arnold Toynbee, The Treatment of Armenians in the Ottoman Empire, 1915–1916: Documents Presented to Viscount Grey of Fallodon by Viscount Bryce [Uncensored Edition], (Gomidas Institute, 2000, 2005) compiled, edited and with an introduction by Ara Sarafian; and Osmanli Imparatorlugu’nda Ermenilere Yapilan Muamele, 1915-1916; Vikont Bryce’in Fallodon Vikontu Grey’e Sundugu Belgeler [Sansursuz Basim] (Gomidas Institute 2009), which includes an additional introduction by Lord Avebury.