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Ensuring Readability in the Translation of the Korean Classic 『Hanjungrok』

Kim Youngshin 1

1안양대학교

Accredited

ABSTRACT

Translation by itself is a communicative activity which transcends the dual barriers of time and space between the Source Culture and the Target Culture. This aspect of translation would make the translation of literary classics an even more daunting task. With this understanding, the present paper comparatively analyzes one of the Korean’s brilliant court literature 『Hanjungrok』 and its English translation The Memoirs of Lady Hyegyŏng: The Autobiographical Writings of a Crown Princess of Eighteenth Century Korea(translated by Kim JaHyun Haboush) in order to find out how the translator deals with, bypasses, and overcomes a whole spectrum of problems encountered in the process. The analysis suggests that the translator of The Memoirs seems to have put more weight on readability rather on faithfulness in translating the narrative style and figurative expressions of the ST. First, as to the narrative style, the translator has fragmented lengthy sentences of the ST into multiple short sentences accompanied with various punctuation marks. This strategy represents an effort on part of the translator to pursue a way of writing which is familiar to TT readers, thus ensuring readability of the translation. Secondly, with regard to the translation of rhetorical expressions and culture-specific elements of the ST, the same kinds of efforts were manifested in the TT. Another purpose of the current study was to examine how the court language of 『Hanjungrok』, a trait regarded as one of the contributing factors of its beauty, was rendered in the TT. The findings suggest that the court language and its typical ways of expression have been translated into ordinary language in the TT. The analysis leads us to suggest that the translator has intentionally applied such shift to make the TT more accessible for its readers. The present study concludes with the argument that the aforementioned translation strategies of the TT, which are primarily employed to enhance the “readability” of the TT, make The Memoirs go beyond the level of the translation to the level of a “faithful” introduction to Korea's history, tradition and culture.

Citation status

* References for papers published after 2022 are currently being built.