European-language translations of Korean novels win big at awards

By KH디지털2
  • Published : Nov 4, 2015 - 17:23
  • Updated : Nov 4, 2015 - 17:28

This year’s Korean Literature Translation Awards went to French, Spanish, Italian and Vietnamese translations of Korean novels, the Literature Translation Institute of Korea announced Wednesday.

“This year, the European-language translations excelled in quality, were released through prominent local publishers, and received praise from the local media,” said poet and head of the awards panel Moon Jung-hee in a statement on the reasons behind the selection. 

Three out of the four recipients were European-language translations, and all four selected works were translations of novels.

On the dominance of novels, Moon said: “Two works of poetry translation made it to the finals, but they were unfortunately dropped due to various factors.”

This year’s winners are Lee Tae-yeon and the late Genevieve Roux-Faucard, who co-translated Han Kang’s “Breath Fighting” into French (“Pars, le vent se leve”); Kwon Eun-hee and Sung Cho-rim, who co-translated Bae Soo-ah’s “Sunday Sukiyaki Restaurant” into Spanish (“El Restaurante de Sukiyaki”); Andrea De Benedittis, who translated Kim Young-ha’s “I Have a Right to Destroy Myself” into Italian (“Ho Il Diritto di Distruggermi”); and Vu Kim Ngan, who translated Jeong Yu-jeong’s “Seven Years of Darkness” into Vietnamese (“7 nam bong toi”).

Lee Tae-yeon (center), who won for her co-translation of Han Kang's novel "Breath Fighting" into French ("Pars, le vent se leve" Descrescenzo Editeurs, 2014) (Literature Translation Institute of Korea)
Kwon Eun-hee (left) and Sung Cho-rim (center), who won for their translation of Bae Suah's novel "Sunday Sukiyaki Restaurant" into Spanish ("El Restaurante de Sukiyaki" Bajo La Luna, 2014) (Literature Translation Institute of Korea)
Andrea De Benedittis (center), who won for his translation of Kim Young-ha's novel "I Have a Right to Destroy Myself" into Italian ("Ho Il Diritto di Distruggermi" Metropoli d'Asia, 2014) (Literature Translation Institute of Korea)

The Korean Literature Translation Awards, which is organized by LTIK and currently celebrating its 13th event, annually honors distinguished translations of Korean literary works. A total of 76 translations in 19 different languages were considered this year, judged first by a panel of foreign literary figures and finally by a Korean panel of literature and foreign language experts. 

The awards also include the Korean Literature Translation Award for New Career Translators, where promising new translators compete by submitting translations of a specific literary work designated by the LTIK.

This year’s winners, who translated Eun Hee-kyung’s novel “Venus Girl,” are Julianne Kelso and Jennifer Cho An in the English category; Na Eun-joo in French; Jo Young-eun in German; Daniel Rodriguez Cornejo in Spanish; Anna Dudinova in Russian; Azumi Junko in Japanese and Zhang Lili in Chinese.

The award ceremony is set to take place at 7 p.m. today at the Korea Press Center in Seoul.

By Rumy Doo (