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Translation Turkish-English-Turkish
How to Translate Turkish -- Part 3

Introduction to Turkish participle translation

Mindnumbing Examples with Oh-so-clever 'Solutions'

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Tüm kitap fırsatları için tıklayın !

Translating Turkish Participle Phrases

Step-by-Step Turkish Translation Methods

[based on an original idea from Robert Underhill's Turkish Grammar]

Sometimes when we run up against Turkish participle phrases like the ones found on the Turkish Participles page, we get a bit confused. When that happens, we try to take a step-by-step translation approach...

Consider this example,
of a Turkish Present Participle phrase...

Cinayet hakkında bilgisi olan herkes...

Click just below
to hear the phrase spoken, please...


Here's how you might approach the Turkish to English translation in steps...

  1. First translate the Turkish noun, to the right, that fronts the Turkish participle phrase, along with any words that may modify it.

    In this example, the Turkish noun (which happens to be modifier-less) is, herkes; everybody/anybody.

  2. Next, insert the word "who" (or "whom" or "which" or "that" or "when", whichever seems to fit the situation best!).

  3. Now, look at the ending on the participle, olan (the present participle of olmak); when you've confirmed that it is a present participle ending, translate it as, having. (Yes, olmak can mean to have too. Check your Turkish-English-Turkish dictionary, la z y. And BTW, you could also translate olan, in this case, as who has, if you like...)

  4. Then, keep moving left, translating each Turkish word as you go....
  5. knowledge
  6. about
  7. the murder

The result, then, is...

Everybody having knowledge about the murder...
- or -
Anybody who has information about the murder...

And, those are perfectly reliable translations.
[Oh, you might want to smooth out the English a little -- according to your own likes and dislikes -- by saying,
Anyone knowing anything about the murder...
We'll leave such matters in your good hands.]

[Note: For some other Turkish translations you even may need to insert English helper-words (such as prepositions) -- to help smooth out the meaning.]

Consider this example,
of a third person 'Past Personal' Participle phrase in Turkish...

Osman ve oğlu'nun Bizans üstüne sürdürdükleri bu saldırılar...

And this one too..?


Here's how you might approach the Turkish-English translation in steps...

  1. First, translate the Turkish noun that fronts the Turkish participle phrase, along with any words that may modify it. In this example, the noun and its modifier are, "bu saldırılar"; "these attacks".

  2. Next, insert the English word "that" (or "which" or "who/whom" or "when", whichever seems to fit the situation best!).

  3. Now, look at the personal ending on the Turkish participle; when you've confirmed that it is third person (this one, 'leri' is third person plural), scan to the left of the participle until you find a word (or word group) with a possessive suffix (-in, -ın, -ün, -un).

    In this sentence, you find the word group: "Osman ve oğlu'nun". So, "Osman and his son", is the 'subject' of the Turkish participle phrase.

  4. Next translate the Turkish participle itself, sürdürdükleri -- to mean simply, [they] continued. And, we can drop the "they" since we've already established "Osman and his son" as the subject of the phrase -- which leaves us with, "Osman and his son continued"...

  5. And then we finish up, by translating the rest of the phrase, going backward (moving to the left) from the participle: "on the Byzantium Empire".

The result, then, is...

"...these attacks that Osman and his son continued on the Byzantium Empire..."

Which is a pretty accurate, and smooth, translation.
[Note: Remember...For some Turkish translations you may need to insert English helper-words (such as prepositions) -- to help smooth out the meaning.]

Another third person 'Past Personal' Participle phrase example...

...geniş kitlenin kolayca anladığı "yaşayan dil"...

Er, how about this one?...

Here the approach [from the previous example] yields the following:
  1. ..."yaşayan dil"; the "living language"
  2. that
  3. geniş kitlenin; the broad mass of people
  4. anladığı; understand
  5. kolayca; rather easily...

  6. ...the "living language" that the broad mass of people understand rather easily...

And an example first person, plural 'Past Personal' participle phrase...
(this Turkish translation approach differs just a leetle from the technique in the two previous examples. But, see if you can follow along anyway...)

Istanbul Topkapıdaki Ahmediye camiinin caddeye yakın kapısından gördüğümüz abideler...

Which could be translated from Turkish to English as...

  1. ...abideler; the monuments
  2. that
  3. gördüğümüz; we see [saw]
  4. kapısından; from the gate
  5. caddeye yakın; near the [main] road
  6. Topkapıdaki Ahmediye camiinin; of the Ahmedi Mosque (the Blue Mosque) at Topkapı
  7. Istanbul; in Istanbul...

  8. ...the monuments that we see [saw] from the gate near the [main] road of the Ahmedi Mosque at Topkapı in Istanbul...

And what about a final tricky (?) one --
a complete sentence Turkish to English translation
just to keep you on your toes...

Kazanın kendi hatamdan olduğunu belirten bir belge imzaladım.

Here's how this one might work out:

  1. imzaladım; I signed
  2. bir belge; a document
  3. belirten; stating
    [Note: the Turkish verb stem here is 'belirt' not 'belir', and the present participle ending has been added, giving 'belirt-en'...You weren't confused, thinking it was 'belir-ten', were you?]
  4. that
  5. Kazanın; the accident
  6. olduğunu; had been (happened)
    [This is another instance of a Turkish 'faux-participle' that we prefer to think of as the main verb of a noun clause. In that case, we can think of the whole noun clause as being the direct object of the present participle, belirten.]
  7. kendi hatamdan; (because of) my own fault.

  8. I signed a document stating that the accident had been my own fault.
Innit nice how they give the answers like that, Marvin.
Well, Mabel, if they didn't, I'd be havin' a word with the management...

Oh, let's just keep going,
now that we're on such a roll...

Try this longer full length Turkish sentence --
with double 'present' participles...

1Avrupa ile Asyayı bölen1 2boğazı karşıdan karşıya geçen2 3trafik şimdi Boğaziçi Köprüsü'nü kullanmaktadır3.

Hear new recording soon!
What about this female speaker..?

Hear new recording soon!
What about this male speaker..?


Shall we begin...?

  1. The first thing we notice is that the Turkish sentence does indeed contain two 'present' participles (bölen and geçen).

  2. Next we notice that these two 'present' participles reside in two Turkish participle phrases.

    The first participle phrase starts with Avrupa and ends with bölen, the second participle phrase starts with boğazı and
    ends with geçen.

    Does this info help us see that the Turkish sentence contains three separate parts? Two participle phrases and one...?
    Use the numerical superscription as a visual aid.

  3. Then, we see that the two phrases "touch" each other.

    They touch at the word
    boğazı; narrow waterway, strait
    immediately to the right of the first 'present' participle,

    So the first 'present' participle phrase is meant to modify the noun boğazı.
    If we need assurance on this point,
    we can remember the examples we've already done above.

    And interestingly, boğazı itself, is the object noun of the second participle phrase. So, even though we don't know what these phrases mean yet, we do know that the two are connected together by the word boğazı.

    And we know one other thing...We know that the second participle phrase is meant to modify something too, immediately to its right too...And what do we find there?

  4. What about the remaining part of the Turkish sentence? The part that carries on from trafik to kullanmaktadır? Well, since the two Turkish participle phrases are mere adjectival modifiers, this remaining part must contain the main point of the sentence! And so it does...

    And it's a good place to start our Turkish to English translation for meaning, in earnest! Because even though Turks may not agree with us, we like to know the main point of the sentence first -- before we take time to deal with mere adjectival modifying phrases...Harrumph. Yes, we do, Ollie.

  5. And, here's how the Turkish to English translation of the main point might work out:

    ...3trafik şimdi Boğaziçi Köprüsü'nü kullanmaktadır.3

    1. First, we find the subject of the clause:
      trafik; traffic, is the only logical choice
    2. Then working from back to front, we insert the verb meaning:
      kullanmaktadır; is using
    3. Boğaziçi Köprüsü'nü; the Bosphorus Bridge
    4. şimdi; now

    5. Traffic is using the Bosphorus bridge now
      And let's set this aside for the mo'.

  6. Now is the time to deal with the mere adjectival modifying phrases...

    Our experience in translating the participle phrases in the previous examples should help us here, if we remember that:

    • participle phrases must be translated from right to left
    • translation of participle phrases should start with the word to the right of the participle

  7. With those points in mind, here's how the Turkish-English translation of the second participle phrase might work out...

    2boğazı karşıdan karşıya geçen2 trafik

    1. trafik; traffic
    2. karşıdan karşıya geçen; that passes across
    3. boğazı; the strait

    4. traffic that passes across the strait
      And let's set this aside too.

  8. That leaves us with the first Turkish participle phrase --

    1Avrupa ile Asyayı bölen1 boğazı

    1. boğazı; the strait
    2. bölen; that divides
    3. Avrupa ile Asyayı; Europe and Asia

    4. the strait that divides Europe and Asia

  9. We're coming down the home stretch now...

    So let's line up the three parts, in reverse Turkish word order, to see what we have.

    • Traffic is using the Bosphorus Bridge now
    • the traffic that passes across the strait
    • the strait that divides Europe and Asia

  10. Then finally, according to our own personal tastes...we may join and then smooooth these 3 sentence parts -- remembering as we go, that the two participle phrases should remain connected together at the word boğazı; strait...

  11. Traffic, that crosses over the strait that divides Europe and Asia, now uses the Bosphorus Bridge.

    Wow! We did it!

I got lost about halfway through, Marvin. How about you?
I'm speechless in Seattle, Mabel.

And, how about just one more --
combining the recarsitive, infibratory, and lostangeles constructions of the present and future perfect participles
(in reductio)...

Just kidding !!!
We had to do somethin' --
'cause you were gettin' that
real serious look on your face again...

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