An interesting article over at Gypsy Scholar. As KTLIT has, The Scholar has been following the success of Please Look After Mom. In the course of this he came across a very interesting mistranslation of spoken words.
The Scholar notes that in the course of an interview Shin is reported to have said:
While I was involved [in the translation project], I’ve come to realize Korean is the best form of language from a literary point of view.
To which the Scholar replies, properly aghast:
I did a double take. I stopped reading. I read again. I thought, “Surely, I’ve misread that.” But multiple re-readings offered the same inescapable hermeneutic: Korean literary chauvinism of the worst sort.
And, of course there have been Koreans who have adopted this stance. One famous instance was the instructor, caught on tape, saying that Korean is the best language in the world and Japanese is barbaric. That excellent foolishness can sometimes be found on Google, if one wants to search for it.
But the Scholar, distrusting this text, went back, found the original text in Korea and had his wife re-translate it and she came up with:
While I was involved [in the translation project], I again came to realize that Korean is a beautiful language — even for encompassing many things. It is of the highest capacity for literary expression.
Which, as the Scholar notes, is an entirely different (and sensible) claim entirely and not nearly as chauvinistically annoying.
The Scholar makes some other cogent points about the translation as well, and you should head over there and check him out…