Cross Your Fingers and Hope to Win!

The folks here at Dongguk University and “a Prestigious Institution that might be named later,” have just put the following abstract in for a conference. It was a horrible rush job, but I’m fond of it.  I hate to be less than dignified, but if anyone on the panel follows this blog?

oooooh…. ooooooh! Pick Me!” ^^

In the attempt to move Korean literature from the margins of the English-speaking mainstream to the success it deserves, translators and translating institutions ignore asymmetrical power relationships between the cultures at their own risk. These asymmetries occur at all levels of translation, and have recursive impacts. This panel will discuss several aspects of the asymmetry, particularly the ways in which texts are altered, how they in turn can alter, and how altering the translation process can change the existing dynamic in translations between Korean and English. The panel will work from the granular to the systematic.

First, the panel will inquire at the meta level into the cultural asymmetries that make English to Korean translation so culturally problematic; the translation, in fact, becomes part of the culture. In this instance, we will look into the initial translation of Chick Lit into Korean, and how that initial translation altered Korean approaches to women’s literature.

Second, the panel will explore how these issues are exacerbated when other cultural influences, in this case religion an marketing, are introduced to the translation process.

Third, the panel will explore how asymmetries can grow at the level of translator’s mediation in a contrastive analysis of Kin Dong-in’s Potatoes. Choices made during the translation process contribute to create meanings in the translated text, and these choices need to be made with this theoretical awareness.

Finally, the panel will discuss specific analytic techniques that Korean translators and translating institutions might consider to ameliorate some of the effects of translational asymmetry. The panel will suggest that an analytical, and partially marketing-based approach to linking goals and results could improve the impact of Korean translations into English.

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