The translation world for Korean literature is pretty small, and Brother Anthony (“An Son-jae” as he is known in the Koreanization of his name) has always been one of the stars in that firmament. So, herewith two things about the brother…
First, an article about his translation efforts. It includes this classic passage about his name:
The name Son-jae comes from the Buddhist Sucra. It also appears in Ko Un’s novel “Little Pilgrim (Hwaeomgyeong),” which he translated, he said.
“Son-jae meets 52 people in the story and each person gives, teaches him something. He’s just like me — I’m not very bright, and a rather old kid who has met great people here,” he said.
Brother Anthony’s translating career, meanwhile, came naturally once he was able to read diverse texts written in Korean. He had already been translating French literature into English, he said. His first publishing — which was a translation of Gu San’s poems — came out in 1990.
He said he was more intrigued by Korean poetry than fiction because he prefers the former to the latter, which he views as too long and unrealistic.
I LOL a bit that he considers Korean fiction long and unrealistic, but I suspect he is talking about the classical stuff, so I’ll let him walk away.. this time! ….. ^^
Particularly because he says some quite sensible things about translation:
Unlike Korean native translators who focus more on accuracy and time constraints, Brother Anthony said he wants his translations to be as close to what the Korean author says content-wise, rather than word-by-word.
“I translate to make people know what Koreans are writing, and find out about the Korean life experience,” he said.
Second, the news that he has just published a book about the Korean tea ceremony which is covered here by the Korean Tourism site.