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A Study of the Hangul Orthography of Loanwords in Translating Classical Literary Works: Focusing on Shakespeare’s A Midsummer Night’s Dream

Myung-soo Hur 1

1한동대학교

Accredited

ABSTRACT

We often find difficulties in the orthography of loanwords and foreign words, partly because the current Hangul Orthography of Loanwords (enacted in 1986 and amended several times) is not for us to understand and apply easily, partly because we are not provided with sufficient examples and detailed explanations about the orthography. Thus many translators have difficulty in writing loanwords and foreign words in Hangul, especially when they translate the Western classical works into Korean, such as Shakespeare’s works. A Midsummer Night’s Dream, for example, has many characters whose names derive from Greco-Roman myths along with the English names. The mixture of Greek names, Romanized names and English names at the same work often cause us lots of difficulty in writing and transcribing those names into Hangul. I selected 18 translations of A Midsummer Night’s Dream to figure out how those names have been transcribed into Hangul. The result turned out very surprising, for almost all the names are put into Hangul differently by each translator. For example, the name of Theseus(Duke of Athens) has been translated differently into Korean: 테세우스, 티이셔스, 티시어스, 티시우스, 시슈우스, 시시어스, 디슈스, etc. In order to get rid of those difficulties, I would like to suggest tips to supplement the current Hangul orthography of loanwords. First, one should more seriously understand and apply the Hangul Orhography of Loanwords in translation of classical works. Second, one needs to trace the forming process of names which have been derived from Greco-Roman myths and literature, and Romanized and transformed into English names. Third, all the names of the characters in the play shall be put into Hangul according to the pronunciation of each name in the British English accent, because A Midsummer Night’s Dream is a British drama, even though it is set in Ancient Athens and has many Greek and Roman names such as Theseus, Egeus, and Demetrius. Fourth, Greek and Latin words should be put into Korean by the method of transcription based on International phonetic alphabets, and then, if needed, by the transliteration method, which uses the closest corresponding letters of a different alphabet or language.

Citation status

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