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Comparison between Korean-English Onomatopoeia and Translation of Korean Onomatopoeia into English

Kim Do-hun 1

1부산외국어대학교

Accredited

ABSTRACT

Onomatopoeia occupies a unique language category, as it displays non-arbitrariness: its phonological form is more directly associated with meaning. Building upon previous researches on onomatopoeia, this paper aims to answer two research questions. First, what are the unique features of Korean and English onomatopoeia? Second, what strategies can be used to translate Korean onomatopoeia into English?As for the first question, this study illustrates how onomatopoeia takes on the functional role as a unique linguistic entity. Following the analysis, this research contrasts the unique characteristics of Korean and English onomatopoeia, so as to find implications for translation. As for the second question, this paper presents three techniques: replacing Korean onomatopoeia with English onomatopoeia (interjection); replacing Korean onomatopoeia with English onomatopoeia (verb); and explaining (inserting additional information or employing adjective, adverb, etc.). Following the classification, the author discusses how such strategies can be deployed and what attentions should be paid. It is of notable interest that onomatopoeia often invites “headaches” in Korean-English translation and that the issue has been neglected in the academic discipline of translation studies, which calls for the need to address the above research questions. The author hopes the contrastive analysis and translation techniques herein will contribute to characterizing the issues and problems during the course of translation and to offering guidelines for those in the translation profession.

Citation status

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