How to Translate English to Turkish with Ease- Royal White Property

Sun, Dec 18, 2022 12:00 AM

Turkish is a tricky language which can be hard to translate to other languages such as English and German. This is because of differences in the word formation and its nature as a suffixing language. For example, in Turkish we add personal ending and tense suffixes to the verbs which is normally at the end.

Word Formation in Turkish

Word formation is very important for translating English to Turkish because in English the common frame for the word formation is Subject, Verb, Object while in Turkish it is Subject, Object, Verb. The word formation can be confusing at times while translating English to Turkish or vice versa and to overcome this problem one must locate the constituents in the sentence. Even finding constituents which are the elements that make up the sentence can be hard to find in Turkish since most of the times Turkish people don’t use direct subjects and use personal endings instead of that which English doesn’t have.

Subject in Turkish

Subject is a crucial part of any language that tells the listener about “who” is doing the action or what happens to them. In English, the place of the subjects is most of the time fixed at the beginning of the sentence so that the listener knows the person or the object first and doesn’t have to guess. In Turkish it is normally the same but Turkish uses personal suffixes at the end of the verbs since it is an agglutinative language and most of the time because of this feature, Turkish people don’t use direct subjects which can be hard to understand if you are a foreigner. Let’s give some examples.

I like cats = Ben kedileri severim. = Kedileri severim. 

In this example we don’t need “ben” (I) since the verb has the personal suffix “-im” which is a suffix for “ben” (I).

Agglutinative Language

Agglutinative language means that morphemes string together with each corresponding to a syntactic feature. For example, if we want to translate “from your houses” English phrase to Turkish, it would be “ev-ler-iniz-den”. If we literally translate morpheme by morpheme, it would be “house-s-your(plural)-from”. This is the main reason conventional translations such as google translate fails to translate English to Turkish or vice versa. Since in English most of the time a standalone word gives a syntactic feature, in Turkish this becomes a morpheme added to the verb. Let’s give some examples:

I don’t eat chicken. = Ben tavuk yemem. =YE (eat)-ME (don’t)-M(I)

In this example “Yemem” is the verb that contains negative and personal suffix which corresponds to “I don’t eat”.

One Word Can Mean Many Things

While translating English to Turkish it is best to keep in mind that Turkish has a rich vocabulary but sometimes one word can mean more then one thing just as in English. While searching for a meaning of a word it is recommended to see it in a context so we can be sure that we are using the correct word. For example, “yüz” in Turkish means variety of things and they are identically written or said. Some meanings of “yüz” can be “hundred”, “face”, “front”.

Ben ona yüz TL verdim. = I gave him hundred TL.

Ben yüzümü kapadım. = I covered my face.

Ben yorgana yüz geçirdim. = I put the blanket in a cover.

How to Translate Accurately

To translate English to Turkish or vice versa it is best to use specialized sites or dictionaries if we want to be as accurate as possible. If we are searching for a single word, it is not complicated but if we are searching for phrases or entire sentences it is going to be harder. While searching for a sentence or a phrase it is best to look for it in the internet for specialized sites and dictionaries in Turkish - English translations such as Tureng and not using machine translations such as Google Translate since most of the time the machine translations are going to be unsuccessful.

Machine Translation Versus Specialized Dictionaries

Machine translations have made a great progress since they came out but with complex languages such as Turkish, they tend to fail to give the accurate meanings. This is because the machine translations use a databank to try and guess the most accurate meaning of a sentence or a phrase. To overcome this problem, there are countless applications and dictionaries but the downside of them is you need to put the pieces together most of the time.

Common Phrases and Words to Help

If you are visiting Turkiye or have some business to attend you probably don’t have time to learn Turkish. So, there are some phrases and words to help you in your journey apart from translations.

Let’s start with some greeting phrases:

• Selam!: Hi!

• İyi akşamlar!: Good evening!

• İyi geceler!: Good night!

• Adınız nedir?: What’s your name?

• Hoşgeldiniz!: Welcome!

• Nasılsın? = How are you?

• Tanıştığıma memnun oldum. = I'm pleased to meet you.

And some farewell phrases:

• Gelecek sefer görüşürüz.: See you next time.

• Yakında görüşürüz: See you soon!

• Güle güle!: Bye bye!

What if you need politeness:

• Teşekkürler.: Thank you.

• Özür dilerim. = I'm sorry.

• Rica ederim.: You're welcome.

Are you feeling inquisitive:

• Afedersiniz!: Excuse me!

• Kaç yaşındasınız?: How old are you?

• Ben ... yaşındayım.: I’m… years old.

• Oraya nasıl giderim?: How do I get there?

• Hadi biraz eğlenelim: Let's have some fun.

• Üzülme!: Don't worry!

At a Restaurant or Café

• Menüyü alabilir miyim?: May I have the menu?

• Lütfen ... alabilir miyim?: Can I please have ...?

• Lezzetli.: This is delicious.

• Afiyet olsun.: Enjoy your meal.

Getting around

• Restaurant nerede?: Where is the restaurant?

• Metro nerede?: Where is the subway?

• Tren garına nasıl giderim?: How do I get to the train station?

• Tek bilet/İki bilet: One ticket to/Two tickets to"


• Bu ne kadar?: How much is it?

• Sende .... var mı?: Do you have...?

• Yardım edin, lütfen: Help me, please

With these phrases you can at least survive in Türkiye easily!


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