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A Comparative Study of Reader Response to Han Kang’s The Vegetarian and Deborah Smith’s English Translation: Based on Questionnaire Surveys on Characterization

  • The Journal of Translation Studies
  • Abbr : JTS
  • 2018, 19(4), pp.149-183
  • DOI : 10.15749/jts.2018.19.4.006
  • Publisher : The Korean Association for Translation Studies
  • Research Area : Humanities > Interpretation and Translation Studies
  • Received : August 13, 2018
  • Accepted : September 27, 2018
  • Published : October 31, 2018

Lee, Jimin 1

1계명대학교

Accredited

ABSTRACT

Deborah Smith’s English translation of Han Kang’s The Vegetarian has been criticized for free translation and being rife with errors. However, very little study has been done on how her free translations are received by English readers. This paper examines how English readers respond to her translation in comparison with how Korean readers respond to the original Korean novel. A survey was conducted on 37 English readers and 35 Korean readers, and the findings are as follows: First, English readers indeed perceive Young-hye, her mother, and the relationship between Yeong-hye’s mother and husband differently from the way the Korean readers do. Second, English readers infer the emotions of the characters by considering the ways in which the characters act and talk and the situation they are in even if some direct descriptions of emotions are deleted in the TT. And, third, literal translation without taking into account cultural differences gives the reader a different understanding of the dynamics among the characters and symbols.

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This paper was written with support from the National Research Foundation of Korea.