Freeside Europe Online Academic Journal

Freeside Europe Online Academic Journal

Modern cultural, literary and linguistic perspectives

Eszter Enikő Mohácsi: Difficulties in Translating Korean Literary Texts to English - an Overview


Although Korean culture has become strikingly popular, Korean literature is less well-known than the
literature of other Far-Eastern countries. There are several factors contributing to this fact. Firstly, Korean, a language isolate spoken only in the two Koreas, is very different from Indo-European languages, and many layers of it cannot be faithfully converted to English. Secondly, Korean literature is deeply rooted in Korean history. As a result, Korean works are oftentimes extremely difficult to interpret by overseas readers. Thirdly, Korean writers themselves had also been isolated and remained oblivious of literary trends worldwide for a long time, thus the majority of their works were unable to captivate Western readers-even if translated well, which was not always the case. Fortunately, there have been fundamental changes in publishing policies regarding the criteria of translation, and there have been promising results suggesting that the dissemination of Korean literature can be more successful in the future.

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ISSN 1786-7967

Budapest Institute, 1139 Budapest Frangepán utca 50-56. Hungary