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British expert advises Korean publishers on how to go global

 
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World Traveler



Joined: 29 May 2009

PostPosted: Mon Dec 02, 2013 3:59 am    Post subject: British expert advises Korean publishers on how to go global Reply with quote

Quote:
In contrast to its meteoric rise in the global pop music scene, South Korea is struggling establish itself in world publishing.

Quote:
Seton said it’s still hard for a translated literary work from Asia to be a big hit in the U.K. since the market for translated works is relatively small and, above all, the quality of translation is unsatisfactory.

Quote:
Butler pointed out a lack of creditable Korean-English literary translators.

“Korean, generally speaking, is a specialist language for western European and American students, whereas Chinese is now widely taught in the U.K. Korean is taught very little,” said the British Council director who previously worked for the Reader’s Digest as global-editor-in-chief.

“Generally speaking, publishers prefer translation to be done into the translator’s native language. So publishers would prefer a book to be translated by an English speaker of Korean. And there just aren’t that many available.”

She said it’s crucial to incubate more creditable Korean-English literary translators since English “actually acts as a bridge as well into other languages.”

Rejt said good translations are much more important in the digital publication era.

“Technology has made it easier to publish a book. There are very many websites you can publish on. But it’s increasingly difficult to bring public attention to their works,” she said.

“If you publish a new digital book, the translation has to be superb because a poor translation will be more of a barrier, or as much of a barrier as no translation at all.”

http://www.koreatimes.co.kr/www/news/culture/2013/12/386_147242.html

I'm really surprised by this. I always assumed there were loads of completely bilingual Korean Americans in the U.S. (Maybe there are less in England?) It's good to know Korean could be a useful money maker in the future. (Now I don't feel so bad about pouring countless hours into trying to learn it.)
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El Bandito



Joined: 07 Oct 2013

PostPosted: Mon Dec 02, 2013 6:04 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

As stated by Mr. Lee of the Korean Literary Society, "If foreigners want to read Korean books, they should learn Korean!"
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jvalmer



Joined: 06 Jun 2003

PostPosted: Mon Dec 02, 2013 5:05 pm    Post subject: Re: British expert advises Korean publishers on how to go gl Reply with quote

World Traveler wrote:
I'm really surprised by this. I always assumed there were loads of completely bilingual Korean Americans in the U.S. (Maybe there are less in England?) It's good to know Korean could be a useful money maker in the future. (Now I don't feel so bad about pouring countless hours into trying to learn it.)

The problem is that translating spoken language is a lot different from literary translation. And it's always best to translate into the language you're most comfortable in. So, maybe most gyopo's Korean just isn't good enough to translate Korean literature.
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edwardcatflap



Joined: 22 Mar 2009

PostPosted: Mon Dec 02, 2013 5:58 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I think there are a few issues here. It's very difficult to translate literature, as jvalmer says, due to language differences, cultural differences and artisitc integrity. Sometimes you have to re-write whole sentences with completely different structures in order to make them sound native speaker like. Otherwise you get books that just read like a translation from page one and no one wants to read them. I know from experience helping to translate film scripts that artists are incredibly precious about their work and often think they know better.

Having said that. I've read books translated from Japanese and found the English to be perfect - just some of the culture can still be confusing. Mind you the kind of books that would get translated from Japanese/Korean would have to be those with international appeal e.g. Detective stories, not books about what it's like to be Korean which a lot of those from here seem to be about.
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Jake_Kim



Joined: 27 Aug 2005
Location: Seoul

PostPosted: Thu Dec 05, 2013 1:56 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Poems are always a good example of 'lost in translation' argument, but it's more than linguistic differences that becomes obstacles to good translation.
Unless the text is somewhat completely factual, say, a technical manual for a machine - tangible, whose characteristics don't change by crossing the borders - usually the works of literature could contain so much assumed knoweldge, historic and contemporary, that are so natural to the native speakers of the language but not so much to others.
Of course, that goes both ways. Nevertheless, the literate mass in the East (take Korea or Japan, for example) are exposed to the translated texts and other cultural elements of the West throughout their lives, so they can form certain mental image of those elements even if its equivalents don't exist in their own country.
The vice versa can't really be said of the mass in the West, can it? Then the text translated from Korean will have to be inundated with extra footnotes explaining what each element is, or do without and leave the readers perplexed or misunderstood, unless the original Korean text deals with the narrowest and the most 'universal' theme and settings in the first place so that you get it straight away just because you're also a human being.
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Squire



Joined: 26 Sep 2010
Location: Jeollanam-do

PostPosted: Thu Dec 05, 2013 8:47 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

I don't think there's a market for books describing how busy and tired the author is, and how cold they are too.
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Ginormousaurus



Joined: 27 Jul 2006
Location: 700 Ft. Pulpit

PostPosted: Thu Dec 05, 2013 2:42 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Squire wrote:
I don't think there's a market for books describing how busy and tired the author is, and how cold they are too.


Best line I've read on Dave's all year. Laughing Laughing
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