From the 29th November to 1st December, the LTI Korea (President Kim Seong-kon) held a Korean literature translation workshop at the University of Malaga in Spain.
For this workshop Antonio J. Domenech, professor of Korean Studies at the University of Malaga, selected Lee Jangwook’s short story ‘Talk of Everything that is not a Giraffe’ for translation, and nine students of Korean studies spent three months translating the work in practical translation classes.
During the three-day workshop writer Lee Jangwook gave a special talk on the theme of ‘writing fiction’ to aid the participants’ understanding of his literary world and the work chosen for translation. The participating students also had the opportunity to discuss their translation and ask questions to the writer concerning things they were curious about when reading. Through their discussion, students were able to get a better understanding of everything from the title to certain words or grammatical constructions and particular aspects of Korean culture prevalent in the work, and in the process reexamine aspects of their translations to ensure the best possible outcome.
In addition, for the students of Korean Studies and East Asian Studies who were unable to take part in the workshop a ‘meet the writer’ event was held with Lee Jangwook where the short story ‘Ivan Menshukov’s Dancing Room’ was introduced and students could ask questions to the writer.
Students prepared their own presentations on the writer and his work and actively participated in the discussion, sharing their reactions to the story and asking about things they wanted to know, thereby expanding their understanding of the writer’s works and also Korean culture in general.
Also, on the 30th of November a ‘Pre-Modern Korean Literature Symposium’ was held at the same university. The event began with a congratulatory address from LTI President Kim Seong-kon and was attended by around eighty students of East Asian Studies and students with different majors who have an interest in Korean literature.
Held on the occasion of the publication of An Introduction to Pre-Modern Korean Literature (2016, University of Malaga Press), the author of the book, Jung Min, professor of Korean Literature at Hanyang University, and translator, Kim Choon-jin, professor of Spanish Literature at Seoul National University, gave presentations on ‘enthusiasm and devotion for fiction’ and ‘the vocation of translator in the globalizing era.’ In addition Kang Eun-kyung, professor of Korean Literature at University of Malaga, and Diego Fernandez, East Asian Studies researcher, gave presentations on ‘novels written in Hangeul’ and ‘translation skills and strategies for working with Korean mythology,’ adding greater scope and depth to the seminar.
Towards the end of the event the head of University of Malaga Press explained the process which led to the publication of An Introduction to Pre-Modern Korean Literature and introduced the implementation plan for an East Asian literature and research collection called ‘Haedoji’ (sunrise), which will focus mainly on Korean literature. Then students formed a long line to have their copies of the book signed by the author and translator. From the enthusiasm shown at this event it was clear to see that the professors, publisher, and students in attendance have a huge interest in Korean literature.
On the 2nd December an awards ceremony was held for the 9th Korean Literature Essay Competition held in Spain, with contestants writing responses to Hwang Sok-yong’s Princess Bari. This time the first prize honor went to Marieme Ángel Jobe Muñoz, a student of East Asian Studies at the university. The awards ceremony began with a reading of Princess Bari by local Spanish actors and the prizes were awarded by LTI President Kim Seong-kon who spoke with the prize-winners, praising their meaningful engagement with Korean literature.
LTI President Kim Seong-kon was also able to sit down with University of Malaga President José Ángel Narváez Bueno, director of international cooperation Olga Guerrero Pérez, and the professors from the Korean Studies department to discuss medium to long term plans for continuing cooperation between the two organizations.
The translation workshop and pre-modern Korean literature symposium provided a great opportunity to witness the interest and enthusiasm students in Spain have for Korean literature, and it is also hoped that, by giving students an experience of translating and evaluating translations, the workshop will have made a contribution to fostering the next generation of translators of Korean literature into Spanish.