Seeding the Exceeding of the Preceding Success – Some Points from the Translator (III of III)

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?

"More than the rose can ramble.."

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.  😉

Get started?

8 thoughts on “Seeding the Exceeding of the Preceding Success – Some Points from the Translator (III of III)

  1. By all means you should translate what your interested in and that which provides you with the best cost/benefit analysis. But I’ll speak from my own bias here and put in a plug for the translation of some non-fiction reflective memoirs written by Koreans who have grown up in the last 50 fifty years from a representative slice of the population. Those would be awfully interesting to me.

  2. Justin,

    I think that works ONLY if the reflection is not an endless recitation of horrors specific to Korea. Otherwise you’re just going to reproduce in autobiography what you’ve already massively overkilled in fiction.
    (NOTE: As usual, I’m referring to what I believe should be translated, NOT making a point about Korean literature in general).

  3. “In ‘is’ 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.”

    I’m sure ‘is’ is a typo. Probably,’his’ is the correct word? right?

  4. LOL…

    as good a time as any to introduce Jae-gon Kim, our Korean associate. And ferocious editor!

    He’ll be on the about page, shortly…

    😉

  5. It tickles me oh-so-pink that people still blush at the thought of Playboy. They’ve published some of the finest talents in the past half-century and a lot of people can’t see past the boobs. (Although they are a little eye-catching…)

  6. David,

    Yeah, but you still have to take into account that Koreans (in Korea) might find it an unsavory place to put Korean lit.

  7. Pingback: Some Notes on Increasing Translation Success | Nanoomi.net

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