Translating Classics?

An interesting but slightly off-base article the other day in the Korea Herald. It focuses on the need for an increase in the amount of Korean literature translated but, perversely, it focuses on classical literature. Perhaps the main ideas can be demonstrated in the following two quotes.

History shows that translations played a major role during cultural renaissances in various countries. According to Italian philosopher, astronomer and mathematician Giordano Bruno, all of the sciences originated from translations. In 18th-century Europe, translators were considered artists who possessed the moral responsibilities of both writers and readers, while during the 19th century translators were known as “creative geniuses.”

“In Western countries, they taught translation as a form of mediation, and so they taught Greek and Latin simultaneously,” Do-ol said. “That resulted in an enormous amount of energy coming from English literature.”

The problem is that this is looking at previous models – kind of the “classical education” model and this is pretty much a ship that has sailed. Continuing along this line is likely to result in the translation of more “Straight to the Asian Studies Library” works.