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The Translation of Poems and Translator’s Grammatical Competence

  • 인문논총
  • 2022, 58(), pp.35-65
  • DOI : 10.33638/JHS.58.2
  • Publisher : Institute for Human studies, Kyungnam University
  • Research Area : Humanities > Other Humanities
  • Received : April 28, 2022
  • Accepted : June 13, 2022
  • Published : June 30, 2022

Jeong-Woo Kim 1

1경남대학교

Accredited

ABSTRACT

If the systematic structure inherent in a language is defined as grammar of the language, the grammatical aspects of a language should be seriously considered in understanding poetry. When certain grammatical deviations known as poetic license are found in a poem, it is really hard to translate the poem retaining literary subtleties. In reviewing a variety of English translations of Korean poetry, it has been argued in this paper that grammatical consideration is necessary to translate poetry properly and accurately. In other words, we reconfirm that for better translation of a poem, some grammatical aspects of the poem should be taken into consideration. The grammatical aspects of Korean poetry analyzed in this paper include five grammatical phenomena: linguistic empathy, case markers, plurality, dialect, language-proper expressive way of thinking. First, the previous English translations do not pay much attention to the use of the prefinal ending ‘- -’ However, the proper translation of the suffix ‘- -’ appearing in a poem is necessary to show the emotional change of a poet’s point of view. Second, the discourse-based grammatical difference between the two particles ‘-i/-ga’ and ‘-en/neun’ should be properly reflected in translating poetry in depth. Furthermore, the particle ‘-eul/leul’ occurring with an intransitive verb can be treated as a poet’s intention aiming for dynamic expression. Third, with relation to plurality, both the use of the unmarked plural form and the repetitive use of the same diction should be reflected in translation. Fourth, in translating poetry, we should give attention to the poetic effect of dialectal vocabularies intentionally selected by poets. Finally, we should note that each of language-proper expressions indicates its own way of thinking and its color. In general, poetic license found in the poetry of a language cannot be separated from grammatical aspects of the language. Poets often use some unusual but refreshing features of grammar in order to break their stereotyped languages. This peripheral or marginal use of grammar can be regarded as poetic license.

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