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Study of Translation and Interpreting Education in Joseon Dynasty

Yu Jung Hwa 1

1한국외국어대학교

Accredited

ABSTRACT

One of the most notable characteristics of translation and interpreting education in the Joseon Era(AD 1392-1910) is higher degree of segmentation and specialization compared to that in the preceding Corea Dynasty(AD 918-1392). Unlike the previous era when Confucianism, art of war and general knowledge were all taught at Gukjagam, the supreme educational institution, its equivalent in Joseon, Sungkyunkwan, provided education only on Confucianism while other educational disciplines were transferred to different specialized institutions. As per translation and interpreting, translators and interpreters were mainly educated at Sayeokwon while Seungmunwon officials prepared and translated diplomatic documents. Such segmentation and specialization deepened discrimination between Confucianism and other academic fields, lowering the status of translation/interpreting education. The second prominent feature was the emphasis given to interpreting education. A good example was Wooeocheong, an agency installed under Sayeokwon specifically to enhance conversation and interpreting training. Translation and interpreting-related institutions of Joseon including Seungmunwon and Sayeokwon tried to nurture translation and interpreting capabilities in many ways such as translation and publication of conversation text books and employment of foreign instructors. Developing translators and interpreters was a very important national task to Joseon as the country sought Sadaegyorin (serving the great China while having equal relationships with the neighbors) diplomatic policy. Recognizing the importance, the government tried to raise quality of translators and interpreters through systematic education. However, the actual effect was not very high as the education was considered to be meant for a certain class of society given at a certain educational institution.

Citation status

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