In Korea, Translation Studies(TS) began to be recognized as an independent academic discipline in the 1990s. The founding of the Korean Society of Interpretation and Translation Studies in 1998 and the Korean Association of Translation Studies in 1999 opened an academic forum for TS, distancing themselves from comparative literature and linguistics.
This year marks the 15th anniversary of the Korean Society of Interpretation and Translation Studies and the 14th of the Korean Association of Translation Studies. These two academic societies publish “Conference Interpretation and Translation” and “the Journal of Translation Studies”, respectively. As the launching of these academic journals mark the institutionalization of TS in Korea, this study examined research papers published in these two journals to identify contemporary research trends in TS of Korea: first, the current study presented a new framework for classifying TS; second, quantitative analysis was conducted on the topics and methodologies of individual papers carried by the two publications; third, the results of quantitative analysis was interpreted qualitatively.
The results showed that 1) research papers on translation outnumbered interpreting by four times; 2) both translation and interpretation research papers demonstrated relatively strong interest in text analysis; in interpretation research, the most frequent research topics were found to be education, text analysis and assessment in this order, while in translation text analysis was the dominant theme, followed by linguistic analysis; 3) by genre, literary translation was found to be the most actively researched area; 4) in interpretation research, the majority of research was being done on conference interpretation, resulting in the dearth of research on community interpretation; 5) in terms of research methodology, case studies and empirical studies represented the majority of research work; and 6) by language, translation of English accounted for the half of all papers reviewed, pointing to the need to diversify the language combinations to be studied.
The current study has some limitations in that its classification framework was not been tested rigorously. However, the study presented a useful tool for putting contemporary TS research in Korea in perspective, and it is hoped that further studies will follow in this direction.