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Magic of translation

26 0 0
15.11.2019
By Kim Ji-myung

"Without it being written in English and spread on internet, even a truly attractive or valuable story of Korea would move the minds of only a handful of people on earth."

This has always been my personal belief. The success of Korean idol groups, dramas and films abroad owe much to excellent translations. But it is not only contemporary Korean popular culture that benefits from translations.

"The records of all states, how strong or weak they were.
Alas, why such differences amid the same humanity!
While some peoples, seeing ahead, swagger over land and ocean,
Why do we lag and linger, in the dark of the night?"

Don't these lines sound like they are taken straight from an English verse? The "we" here are the Koreans, living in the turbulent period of the Korean Empire (1897-1910). The author deplores the frustrating situation of his fatherland. I am sure these rhymed lines, translated into English from an old document, will come into the hearts of modern Koreans, more than the original poem in the classical Chinese or the hangeul-translated versions.

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