본문 바로가기
  • Home

Translation as Ventriloquy: Recapturing the Narrative Voice in Song of the Sword

Ha-yun Jung 1

1이화여자대학교

Accredited

ABSTRACT

Voice is a challenging yet critical aesthetic element in the translation of narratives. This paper aims at establishing the concept of voice as a significant factor in the discourse on literary translation, and at searching for creative solutions to the many obstacles in recapturing voice in the translation of Korean fiction into English. The properties that make up narrative voice can be categorized as tone, style and personality, which are analyzed here through examples of various narrative devices. To explore the specific challenges in recapturing voice in Korean-into-English translation, the paper examines two published translations of Korean fiction--Yi Sang’s “Record of a Consummation” and Hwang Sok-yong’s The Old Garden--alongside this writer’s own translation of Kim Hoon’s novel Song of the Sword, all first-person narratives delivered by distinct and recognizable voices. The biggest obstacles, as observed in the three works, are posed by lexical categories that do not exist in English, including case markers and verb endings, and elements that do not translate well, or at all, into English, including heavy modifying clauses and lyrical devices. These challenges, however, can be overcome by handling language in creative and inventive ways to reflect and retain the effect displayed in the original text. It is all the more important for translators of Korean literature to seek new linguistic possibilities for recapturing voice, considering that the aesthetics of Korean literature has yet to be defined in world literature today.

Citation status

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