Two super-talented young Korea bloggers..

Found on the Web

Found on the web

A couple of young bloggers, who came across my radar as I was searching for other things, who are really, REALLY good.^^

Ryung068 is a blog by a young scholar who appears to be Korean and interested in translation. Some good stuff here including some  translation of what looks like original poetry. But I was mainly struck by the cool paper here: Limitations in Translation and Spreading of Korean Literature.

The paper commits the common Korean mistake of thinking that the Nobel Prize for Literature would mean “globalization/internationalization” of Korean literature. In fact it would not, but that is an issue for a different post.^^

It’s nice to see young scholars thinking about these issues and one of the issues he/she thinks about is the role of the translator. Speaking about Kim Chi-young (translator of “Your Empire is Calling You,” “Please Take Care of Mom,” etc), Ryungo68 notes:

Remarkable point, is that, she has changed some minor parts in the novel. About this, she has been criticized since some people believes that the texts should be untouchable. However, she believed that for the sake of foreign readers’ comprehension, some changes should be undergone. Also, there was an agreement between the writer, editor and translation for that modification.

Ryungo68 ends up defending annotation as a good technique for maintaining original cultural content while also expressing meaning in the target culture.

Nice stuff!

Just as impressive is askakoreanteenager (which pretty much has to be a riff on the super Ask A Korean website). It is not as tightly focused on Korean literature and its international role, but it does have this post on Shin Kyung-sook and Chi-young Kim. The young blogger is clever enough to note the importance of the translator in the success of Shin’s book. Here is her money quote:

Shin is the kind of person I’ve been dreaming about becoming for a long time. And another new role model, the one person who deserves a little more attention than now, is Kim Chi-young, the translator of the book. For this kind of cultural connection to take place, (I know it’s not an every day thing, from my taste of the work done in Korean Cultural Center NY) both the content and the ‘bridgework’ have to be JUST RIGHT. A purely Korean story written by a Korean that westerners can relate to? It’s not an everyday thing at all. But this is exactly what I aspire and these two women have proven that it is possible, this cultural connection.

Please visit these two sites and give their young authors a shout-out. Encouragement can only help them develop into even better thinkers and writers. So go over to their sites and leave them nice comments. 😉




5 thoughts on “Two super-talented young Korea bloggers..

  1. No… two high-school students, if I read them right.

    Which makes their intellectual precocity pretty amazing.^^

  2. Askakoreanteenages is mistaken when she/he says:

    “A purely Korean story written by a Korean that westerners can relate to?”

    If it is a purely Korean story than non-Koreans will not relate to it.

    The fact that the story is being accepted means that it is universal in nature, and is not somehow purely Korean.

    Purely Korean would mean a work say, on how how much Koreans like the shape of their chosungul writing system or something that is completely unique to them.

    Love, parents, etc. are not purely Korean themes.

    Again, I would say that there are many themes that exist in Korea that are capable of being understood well outside Koreans.

    Do Koreans hearts ever burn with love and desire?

    Do Koreans ever want to track down a murderer?

    Do Koreans ever dream of life on far off worlds?

    If the answer to these is yes, then those are themes to be explored in fiction that can be understood by outsiders.

  3. Oh, yes, I completely agree.

    What I meant by a purely Korean story was that both the setting and the characters are really Korean, that it’s not about a Korean immigrant in America, or Korean American in America, or a non-Korean character in Korea, etc. I find that these kinds of stories leave lots of obvious room for empathy in an outsider’s perspective. They’re a lot easier to relate to because they encompass the concept of multiculturalism. It may be my lack of knowledge in this area of literature as a whole but I’ve always thought that many of the Korean-centric novels that have gained recognition in the Western part of the world are those that fall under this genre of multiculturalism novels. Please Look After Mom is special in many ways but I thought that it being supposedly so Korean in this way, that it doesn’t ask us to think about multiculturalism and yet it manages to be so universally relateable is what makes it most unusual a novel.

    I guess I should have elaborated more on that point when I first wrote the post. Thank you for pointing that out!

    (By ‘outsider’ I mean someone who’s not Korean)

  4. Both,

    Yeah.. I read “purely” in the second way mentioned here – as untouched by conscious desire for internationalism or multiculturalism. LOL – I’ve lived long enough to know that nothing is actually “pure” in the other sense.^^

    This is a major point in-country, as some Koreans are unsettled at the idea of Korean authors ‘internationalizing’ their work in order to achieve success. I happen to believe that both approaches should go hand in hand and tomorrow I will be posting something about this as the idea has popped up in this comment thread as well as in the threads under some more recent posts (notably the Pak Min-gyu translation).

    Interesting comments by all involved. 😉

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