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A Study on the Current Status and Challenges in the Arabic Translation of Korean Literature and the Korean Translation of Arabic Literature

  • The Journal of Translation Studies
  • Abbr : JTS
  • 2018, 19(4), pp.7-43
  • DOI : 10.15749/jts.2018.19.4.001
  • Publisher : The Korean Association for Translation Studies
  • Research Area : Humanities > Interpretation and Translation Studies
  • Received : August 10, 2018
  • Accepted : September 27, 2018
  • Published : October 31, 2018

Gwag, Soon-Lei 1

1한국외국어대학교

Accredited

ABSTRACT

The statistics data from the Korean Publishers Association shows that among the 9,714 books translated and published into Korean in 2015, the number of Arabic literary works was less than four. The figure attests to the fact that the standing of Arabic literature in Korean translation is far lagging behind the standing of Arabic language and Arabic culture around the world. The Egyptian writer Naguib Mahfouz's winning of the 1988 Nobel Prize for Literature prompted increased attention to Arabic literature from Korean readers and publishing houses, which lasted for a short period of time. Korean publishers, in general, add several Arabic novels in the collections of world literature, instead of printing individual Arabic books for Korean readers. Even if Korean-Arabic translators with a master’s degree in translation or those with a diploma in Arabic literature are interested in translating Arabic literary works, it is hard for them to find a publisher as Korean publishing houses prefer translators with a publication experience. Therefore, if graduate schools of translation could help Korean-Arabic translators publish their master’s theses or co-translated works, young Korean-Arabic translators might be able to start their literary career. In addition, their introducing various Arabic literary works would contribute to attracting more attention from Korean readers, thus creating a virtuous cycle for translation of Arabic literature. Meanwhile, the translation of Korean literary works has been limited to the works that receive support from the Literature Translation Institute of Korea. In addition to those works, several short stories have been introduced in the Arabic version of Koreana, the Korea Foundation’s quarterly. As a result, Korean literature has gained little attention in Arabic countries. However, Arabic readers are showing increasing interest in Korean novels thanks to the translation and publication into Arabic of Please Look After Mom and The Hen Who Dreamed She Could Fly in 2011 and 2014, respectively. This trend implies that more studies are needed on the strategies how to discover Korean literary works that would interest Arabic readers and cultivate Korean-Arabic literature translators, Koreans or Arabs, thereby expanding the horizons of Korean literature in the Arabic world.

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