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The Meaning of Mistakes in Translation of the Naksunjae Version of The Dream of Red Chamber

  • JOURNAL OF CHINESE STUDIES
  • 2020, (67), pp.81-104
  • DOI : 10.26585/chlab.2020..67.004
  • Publisher : CHINESE STUDIES INSTITUTE
  • Research Area : Humanities > Chinese Language and Literature
  • Received : January 31, 2020
  • Accepted : February 25, 2020
  • Published : March 31, 2020

MINWOO CHO 1

1연세대학교

Accredited

ABSTRACT

The Naksunjae translation of The Dream of Red Chamber, as known as the world’s first complete translation of this famous Qing novel, is as well as a felicitous material for analyzing the feature of translation itself between Korean and Chinese in 19th century. This article analyzes the incorrect annotations and mistranslated examples of the Naksunjae translation of The Dream of Red Chamber, and suggests that although there were many mistranslations or mistakes, the translators had logical reasons to make the wrong decision. Through the observation, this paper points out the process of translation: 1) recognizing the Chinese characters, and thus some mistakes were caused by unclear or profane printing. 2) each translator had his own standard of translation, which still can be seen when we look closely into the text, but these multiple standards made the Naksunjae translation very complicated in consequence. 3) The Naksunjae translation can be divided into two parts, in the former part, translators prefer to translate Chinese directly to Korean; and in the latter part, translators prefer to preserve original Chinese words. 4) when the translator struggled to find the correct meaning, they rely on the context clues in The Dream of Red Chamber, but the cultural misunderstanding still lead to mistranslation.

Citation status

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

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