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LTI Korea awards recognize excellence in literary translation

The Literature Translation Institute of Korea announced on Monday the winners of its translation awards this year, recognizing their contributions to the promotion of Korean literature worldwide.

The 17th LTI Korea Translation Awards went to Yoon Sun-me, who translated Han Kang’s novel “Human Acts” into Spanish as “Actos Humanos”; Sora Kim-Russel, who translated Kim Un-su’s novel “The Plotters” into English; and Li San-lun and Kim Hwan, who translated “Gorae” into Russian. 


The 17th LTI Korea Translation Award winners attend a press conference on Monday at the Koreana Hotel in Seoul. (LTI Korea)
The 17th LTI Korea Translation Award winners attend a press conference on Monday at the Koreana Hotel in Seoul. (LTI Korea)


LTI Korea reviewed 153 translated works in 24 languages this year.

“Korean literature has ‘beauty of blank,’ and sentences are concise. It is readers who complete the meanings of sentences,” said Yoon, who translated Han Kang’s “Human Acts.” “But when those sentences are translated in different languages, they may look too simple ... so it is always challenging for me to add some background and analysis to sentences when translating literary works.”

Novelist Kim Un-su stressed the need to support literary translation, saying “excellent translators complete literature when it comes to publishing literature abroad.”

“It is hard to expect Korean literature to gain good recognition globally when support for translation is quite insufficient,” Kim added.

The seventh LTI Korea Outstanding Service Award was given to Choi Don-mee and Pio E. Serrano.

“Korean literature was unfortunately introduced quite late to the world compared to those of China and Japan. In Spain, it was 1960s when Korean literature, which was a small book of poetry, was introduced,” said Pio E. Serrano, who translated more than 50 Korean works into Spanish, adding that Korean literature remains little known in Spain.

The 18th LTI Korea Award for Aspiring Translators went to eight individuals: Bae Young-jae and Jinan Zhang for translating “The Tale of Yongchol” into English and Chinese; and Chloe Gautier, Martin Mrzyglod, Park Jeong-hyo, Maki Ito and To Thi Thanh Thuong for translating “Different Memories” (unofficial translation) into French, German, Spanish, Japanese and Vietnamese, respectively.

“Korean novels recently have gotten much attention in Japan thanks to the novel ‘Kim Ji Young, Born 1982’ and book covers of Korean literatures are considered to be fancy and catchy there,” said Ito.

By Park Yuna (yunapark@heraldcorp.com)
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