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It is quite usual to hear today’s society referred to as an information society or a communication society. One of the reasons Korea was able to enjoy such astonishing economic growth in the past as well as its current status on the international stage is precisely because it possesses a comparative advantage in information and communication, an important tool in modern society. During this process, Korea’s competent translators and interpreters certainly played a pivotal role.
Following META’s special issues on Japan and China, Korea is proud to introduce a special issue on interpretation and translation in Korea. For those who are aware of the vibrancy of the interpretation and translation field in Korea, it is a natural corollary. This vibrancy is demonstrated in two aspects. From a practical aspect, 13 graduate schools and five undergraduate programs award diplomas to hundreds of interpreters and translators each year. These graduates provide the foundation upon which numerous international events can be held in Korea.
The second aspect is the academic one. In 2000, Korea became the first Asian country and the fourth in the world after Ottawa, Paris and Geneva to offer a doctorate program in translation studies. Despite some initial misgivings, many with practical interpretation and translation as well as teaching experience have shown great interest in this program which is being further stimulated by exchanges through academic societies and journals. It is no longer rare to see scholars from Korea attending and presenting papers at large-scale international gatherings. In fact, in April 2005, six Korean scholars gave presentations at META 50 in Montreal.
This special issue is a synthesis of Korea’s energy, showcasing the diverse dimensions in which interpretation and translation discussions are being held in Korea as well as the speed at which Western theories are being assimilated and adapted. This issue, consisting of 17 articles, is divided into two parts.
Part one deals mainly with interpretation such as the interpretation of neologisms, simultaneous interpretation and delayed simultaneous interpretation, interference, interpretation training and metacognitive evaluation in consecutive interpretation. The seven papers address various issues in interpretation within the Korean context.
Choi, Jungwha, a veteran conference interpreter and professor of interpretation, has witnessed the interpretation market evolve over the years. She was particularly struck by the emergence of neologisms, which led to her research on the formation of neologisms in Korea, how they are handled during interpretation and the pedagogical implications. Lee, Taehyung who has written numerous articles on EVS in English-Korean simultaneous interpretation, analyzed the difference between real-time and delayed simultaneous interpretation by employing statistical analysis of recorded sound data. This study provided insightful implications on simultaneous training preparation and training. Lim, Hyang-Ok conducted a comprehensive survey on interpretation and translation training graduate schools in Korea with detailed analysis of entrance examinations, curricula and graduation qualifications. This article will be of interest to those who are setting up a similar program. Cho, Junmo and Park, Hae-Kyeong discussed the possibility of including pronunciation training for English (the B language of most students) as part of the comprehensive interpretation curriculum to improve delivery and interpretation quality in English. The paper also includes a comparison of Korean and English phonological structures and processes. Kim, Hye-rim, with her experience as a Korean-Chinese interpreter, conducted an in-depth analysis of interference by cognate signifiants between the two languages. Since Korean uses a number of words with Chinese-character roots, an interpreter might be tempted to use those same words even though they are faux amis. Kim provided several strategies and pedagogical methods to avoid linguistic interference. Pyoun, Hyéwon, a Korean-French conference interpreter and researcher, was struck by the widespread use of English documents in conferences regardless of whether or not it is one of the official conference languages. She therefore studied this increasing trend and the related difficulties of working with English documents while simultaneously interpreting between Korean and French. Choi, Jung Yoon’s research dealt with performance evaluation criteria for consecutive interpretation using metacognitive theoretical principles. This article was a noteworthy attempt to establish a theoretical framework for novice interpreter training as well as to find ways to encourage students to think about their consecutive interpretation performances.
Part two deals mainly with written translation covering a variety of subjects such as extralinguistic knowledge, metaphoric translation, the concept of culture in translation, background information and revision. The ten articles in Part II focused on translation studies in Korea. Kim, Ryonhee investigated the use of extralinguistic knowledge in comprehension processes by analyzing data from English-into-Korean translation by employing questionnaires and think-aloud protocols with translators of varying degrees of competence. The results of the study indicate that extralinguistic knowledge makes the inferential process more efficient and enhances the quality of the translation. Kim, Daejin attempted to explore the notion of mediation between Korean translators who are knowledgeable about the source text and native speakers of English who have linguistic knowledge. A taxonomy was used to show the strategic collaboration in translating culturally embedded and ambiguous texts from Korean-into English translation in case-study research. Lee, Changsoo explored the conspicuous differences in translation patterns found in broadcasting and newspapers in the case of Korean-into-English translation. It was found that in broadcasting translation there was noticeable lead reduction while the contrary was true in newspaper translation. He also discusses the differences in terms of the degree of latitude exercised by translators. Kim, Haeyoung explored ways to provide effective and practical teaching tools for use in translation courses geared towards undergraduate students. She conducted an experiment between two groups of students to determine whether background information had an impact on the quality of the translation.
It is generally assumed that Korean-into-English translations will expand, rather than the reverse. Cheong, Hojeong showed, through parallel corpus data and relevant statistical analysis, that implication and contraction as well as explication and expansion phenomena were observed in English-into-Korean translation contrary to general and prevailing assumptions. Lee, HyeSeung studied the influence of socio-cultural variables in translation from Russian into Korean. She focused on the concepts and issues of metaphors and their influence on translation processes. Since metaphors are steeped in the culture in which they originate, translators have difficulty conveying the message and must find a variety of strategies to deal with them. In a similar vein, Cho, Sangeun explored the interesting, but rather controversial topic of creativity in translation between Korean and Japanese, two languages that are syntactically similar. She pointed out the lack of creativity in Japanese-Korean translation and argued that the concept of creativity should complement translator training. Jeon, Mi-Yeon and Annie Brisset comprehensively examined how the notion of cultures has been handled in translation profession and training. They argued that the role played by culture in translation remains theoretical. Since it has not been addressed from the practical standpoint, there is room for improvement in translation training in terms of raising cultural awareness. Within the translation context, the words revision, proofreading and editing are often used interchangeably. Lee, Hyang explored the possibility of suggesting a clear-cut definition of revision in translation processes and training. By reviewing previous studies, this paper attempted to suggest four new parameters for the topic of revision.
The last article was written by Yoo, Hea-kyung, a Korean-Spanish interpreter/translator and researcher. She looked at the impact of background knowledge on the process of translation and its implications for teaching translation. This article was written in hangul, the Korean alphabet, at the suggestion of André Clas, who thought it would be a wonderful opportunity to showcase the Korean language. Hangul, in fact, has been recognized worldwide for its beauty as well as its scientific precepts.
As in all disciplines, but particularly in interpretation and translation studies, communication with “the outside” is essential in order to grow. From this perspective, this special issue is an invaluable opportunity for Korean researchers to officially communicate with international researchers. I hope these articles pass Korea’s energetic torch to interpretation and translation researchers around the world, and kindle mutually beneficial exchanges.
Authors of these articles would like to express their heartfelt thanks to André Clas for giving them the opportunity to present a special issue on Korea.
Prof. Choi, was the first Asian to receive a Ph.D. in interpretation and translation studies at the E.S.I.T. in France. She is currently professor at the Graduate School of Interpretation and Translation of Hankuk University of Foreign Studies, a member of AIIC and honorary president of the Korean Society of Conference Interpretation. She received the Danica Seleskovitch Prize in 2000 for her contribution to the research and practice of conference interpretation and the Legion d'Honneur in 2003.