Translations from French and other romance languages in the Bosnian Muslim journals in the time of revival
The interest of the Bosnian-Herzegovinian Muslims for everything that have been taking place in the West, and, seen in this light, for the fruits of the French culture and the achievements of its literature, was not a sudden thing that occurred only after the Austro-Hungarian troops occupied Bosnia and Herzegovina in 1878. Many years before the event, a certain lawyer Henri Massieu de Clerval would travel through Bosnia. He spoke with zest about a certain Mustafa effendi, a teacher in one of the secondary schools in Sarajevo (ruždija), who has learned to speak French in Paris, as a true lover and connoisseur of French literature. In 1869, a certain Arif effendi would start to teach French in the ruždija after having obtained the legal permission from the Sultan. From that time on, French would signify "a common European language". Mehmed Šaćir Kurtćehajić complained in the Sarajevski Cvjetnik for not having had the opportunity to learn, among other things, French, which was the language mostly spoken at the time.
During the period of the Bosnian Muslim cultural revival, there were three periodicals that published the translations of literary texts from French. These journals were Behar, Gajret and Biser, respectively. One should mention here as the most diligent translators: Salih Emin Alićehajić, Hajji Mehmed Tevfik beg Azapagić, Salih beg Bakamović, Abdurezzak Hivzi Bjelevac, Mehmed Džemaludin Čaušević, Esad effendi Kulović and Ismeta Sarić. The majority of these translators learned French during their school years in Istanbul. In the end, one should also mention that although the translation from the French in these Moslem journals was not a systematic activity, and since there was no certain will that would channel these translating efforts towards the directions desired, the contribution of these Muslim translators could be seen as considerable. They managed to have the gates of this great Western European literature wide open to the readership of a small European nation.