There are several ways to define urban planning and to describe the diffusion of modern urban planning throughout the world. This article proposes a further way of describing this phenomenon by discussing the development of modern urban planning in Turkey as a process of translation. Modernization in Turkey has been experienced as a process of transfer of Western European models, in which interlingual translation too has served as a tool. However, the concept of translation is used here not only due to the existence of acts of translating within this process: the conception of translation as an intricate process involving difference and transformation, as proposed by contemporary translation studies, is a valuable analytical tool to analyze the transfer of urban planning more generally into the Ottoman and Turkish context. This paper thus uses a translation studies perspective to examine some of the agents and texts that helped form the field of modern urban planning in Turkey in the second half of the nineteenth century.