I first noticed this in an opinion piece in the Korea Herald titled Market principle, culture don’t mix by Kim Hoo-ran.
The first thing that seems odd to me is the timing of this. There is no argument that LTI Korea is currently operating at its highest level. Successes at the Book Fair of London, 15 translations from the Dalkey Archive Press, classic translations available free online, the definitive author-name database, the author information database and more interest in Korean literature than at any previous time. I haven’t even mentioned LIST Magazine, the Wikipedia Project and a host of other successes authored by LTI Korea.
So now is the time to make a change? This seems like a classic contravention of the old saying that one should not change horses in mid-stream. It’s even worse if you consider that for the first time LTI has the same president in successive terms – stability finally achieved and now it’s time to toss it away?
Ms. Kim gets it entirely right when she says:
Literature has a far deeper and lasting impact than K-pop, as the noted scholar and translator pointed out. Indeed, Korea has a lot more to offer than catchy tunes and dance, and Korean literature provides a window through which Korea can be understood. Both the universal values espoused by Koreans and unique aspects of Korean culture can be appreciated through Korea’s literary offerings.
Ms. Kim also points out the role of LTI Korea in fostering translators – and, guess what? the translations are getting better every year. In addition she points out that the success of Kyung-sook Shin was initially spearheaded by LTI Korea.
And look at the KPIPA website.. it’s a nightmare of jargon and graphics instead of text. I’m not sure how anyone who is a fan of Korean translated literature could be for this idea.