In a very uncharacteristic move, The New York Times tweeted in Turkish for an article that was published in The Opinion Pages in both English and Turkish. The tweet caught fire especially amongst the Turkish users.
The political opinion piece by Taner Akçam, titled “Turkey’s Human Rights Hypocrisy” criticized Turkey for not recognizing the crimes of its past, and claimed this stance weakens Turkey’s message to Syria. “It isn’t a coincidence that many Christians and other minorities in Syria support Bashar al-Assad” chimed Akçam, “they are willing to sacrifice freedom for security.” According to the historian, Turkey’s denialist rhetoric “makes Turkey look very much like a security threat to them.”
It is not the first time The New York Times handles events of international importance in multiple languages. Previously, the newspaper’s Moscow bureau chief Clifford Levi started a bilingual collaboration where Russian blogs would translate the related Times’s articles into Russian, and select Russian comments would be translated into English. This level of engagement, however, is uncommon.
Was it a wise choice for The New York Times to publish in two languages and raising international awareness? Or does the necessity to translate signify that the article was, after all, not intended for the readers of The New York Times, therefore out of place? Let us know what you think in our comments.