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Korean-Russian garners literature translation award

Park Mo-ran, an ethnic Korean Russian, won a Korean literature translation award last week.

The 24-year-old student translated the novel “The Door of Morning” into Russian and was picked as one of the winners of a competition organized by the Korea Literature Translation Institute.
Park Mo-ran (Yonhap News)
Park Mo-ran (Yonhap News)

Witten by Part Min-kyu, the book had formerly won prestigious Yi Sang Literary Award.

The young translator is now studying for her master’s at Hankuk University of Foreign Studies, invited with scholarships by the Overseas Koreans Foundation.

“It was an opportunity to learn linguistic characteristics of the Korean language as well as their traditional culture,” she said in an interview with local media.

Park is a descendent of those Koreans who emigrated to Primorsky Krai of Russia, also known as Yeonhaeju, during the Japanese occupation in early 1900s.

The emigrants were also forced to move to deserted land in central Asia under a policy of Stalin in 1937. Her grandfather was also one of those people, and moved to Tashkent in Uzbekistan. He later moved to Saint Petersburg after the collapse of the Soviet Union.

“My name, Mo-ran, is actually a kind of flower in my homeland,” she said, retrospect.

“To translate a work of literature is not just a form of communication or exchange of meanings, nor just sharing knowledge of a certain sector,” she explained.

“A translator is a reader, analyst, and writer as well. Therefore, when translating works, one must strive to revitalize the style of writing and philosophy of the original works into the new language,” she added.

Although Park will finish her postgraduate degree by next year, she wishes to stay in Korea longer to gain more career opportunities.

“I am planning buy my mother a trip to Paris with the prize money,” she said.

By Kang Yoon-seung (