Editor’s note: This is the third part of an article by The Translator. In his first post, Succeeding the Success he pointed out the historical reasons, both endogenous and exogenous to translation, for the Korean approach to it. In his second post, Exceeding the Preceding Success, he discussed a new approach to translation. In this, the final post, he further extends his argument on how translation should proceed.
Work on what?
Yes, I DO ramble on at times, particularly when it comes to a subject to which I’ve been giving some thoughts. By now some readers will start to wonder what aspiring, but poor authors and translators would do together without any funding. Let me address that first before I fall into another lapse of rambling.
What should they work on? By definition, this should be decided by the authors and translators. Being a translator myself, interested mainly in literature translation, I would probably start working on short stories. Why? Why, of course, because they are short! It takes less time to translate it compared to, let’s say, Taebeksanmaek, by Cho Jeong Rae. Authors and translators need not invest as heavily with their time and effort to complete a translation. Less invested means less risk even if the final product is foiled at the end. Once a final version of a translation is made in a relatively short period of time and effort, I would submit it to reputable literary magazines, such as New Yorker. I would even submit the work to Playboy magazine, for they feature great short stories (let us set aside arguments for validity and legitimacy for magazine selection for now). Once one makes through the hurdle and gets published, more will follow. Readers of the magazine will begin to remember some authors’ names…and so on.
I don’t want to paint rosy pictures before the eggs are hatched (did I just kill two birds with one stone?). Short stories, I believe, will work fine as a starting point for an organic collaboration setting between young authors (Han Gang, Park Min Gyu and Kim Young Ha to name a few of my favorite) and translators to experiment with and also to produce some tangible result in the form of a recognized publication.
What do we do now?
I don’t know. 😉