[KS] Competing Translations

Ross King jrpking at interchange.ubc.ca
Mon Jul 7 21:33:51 EDT 2008

Dear Brother Anthony and colleagues: 

While it would be nice, in a perfect world, to know what other translators are doing all the time, it seems rather unreasonable to achieve this, and I am not persuaded that having multiple translations of the same work is a bad thing or a 'waste of time', especially if we're talking about students and translators who are still learning their craft. 

When it comes time to _publish_ such translations, yes, for copyright and other legal reasons, this becomes important, but in my ideal world, multiple (published) translations of the same work is not a bad thing, and there are plenty of precedents for this in the world of literary translation. On a related note, taking too much of a proprietary attitude toward translations (the whole 'agents' thing) is already stifling interest in certain authors on the part of certain translators, and this is something that the struggling field of Korean literature in translation can ill afford. The more the merrier.


Ross King
Professor of Korean and Head of Department,
University of British Columbia, 
Department of Asian Studies


Dean, Korean Language Village, 
Concordia Language Villages

Mailing address: 
Ross King, Department of Asian Studies, UBC
Asian Centre, 1871 West Mall
Vancouver, BC V6T 1Z2

vox: 604-822-9240
fax: 604-822-8937

More information about the Koreanstudies mailing list