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Functions and Contents of Translator’s Preface: Focusing on Translator’s Visibility

Soon Mi Kim 1

1숙명여자대학교

Accredited

ABSTRACT

Last decade saw a rapid increase in the studies of translators using various sources including statistics, surveys, interviews, and paratexts. This is a new trend because scholars have concentrated their researches on translated texts focusing on their linguistic and cultural aspects; and readers have not bothered to read paratexts including translator’s prefaces as translated texts are read and accepted as originals. “Translator studies” was not even included in Holmes’ translation map; and when conducted, it was limited in its scope without the consideration of translators’ own voices. The lack of translator studies has been closely associated with the translator’s invisibility and low status. Thus, the changes in research trend reflects the ascendance of translators in the translation community and enhancement of their responsibility. This study aims to find out the characteristics of translators writing a translator’s prefac and to analyze the contents and functions of translator’s prefaces, focusing on how translators recognize their status, responsibility and visibility. Based on the analysis of translator’s prefaces in 24 literary translations, this paper finds out that the traits prominent among these translators are strong sense of responsibility and high level of translation competence. Translator’s prefaces contain their explanations on translation processes, emotions in each process, translation strategies and perspectives, serving as criteria on which critics make an evaluation. They also enhance translator’s visibility and status, differentiate one translation from others in terms of translation strategies, and provide other translators and readers with information on translation strategies taken by a translator.

Citation status

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