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A Study on Third Person Pronoun ‘kunye’ in Korean-to-English Novel Translation: A Case Study of the Novel The Vegetarian

  • The Journal of Translation Studies
  • Abbr : JTS
  • 2018, 19(3), pp.113-133
  • DOI : 10.15749/jts.2018.19.3.005
  • Publisher : The Korean Association for Translation Studies
  • Research Area : Humanities > Interpretation and Translation Studies
  • Received : August 2, 2018
  • Accepted : September 5, 2018
  • Published : September 30, 2018

Mijung Park 1

1부산대학교

Accredited

ABSTRACT

The third person pronoun ‘그녀’ (‘kunye’) performs a narrative function in Korean novels for a female character. When it is exclusively used for one central figure, the expression causes readers to recognize the figure as the main character of the novel. This focalization is maximized by inner monologues of the narrator. “Flaming Trees” of The Vegetarian, a Korean fiction by Kang Han, follows this mechanism in terms of the usage of ‘kunye’. The English translation, however, cannot mirror the function because the corresponding pronoun, ‘she’ (or ‘her’) does not have the same implication in English text. Thus, the translator frequently had no choice but to change the pronoun into explicit expressions such as the character’s name rather than using the corresponding word, ‘she’ (or ‘her’). This paper analyzes how ‘kunye’ was translated and interprets the outcomes based on the manner of understanding English text from its readers’ viewpoint. This study also considers the expression choices of translation through interviews with the translator, Deborah Smith. When ‘kunye’ was translated into the main character’s name, the focalizing function was usually dismissed. Yet, focalization was compensated for via an inner monologue expression which also has a focalizing function. The inner monologue expression was realized as per the translator's discretion.

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