Wednesday, January 20, 2010

If you've Got Issues, Blame the Translators

Had to smile, although this is rather pathetic.

The Korean Truth and Reconciliation Commission is under fire for blaming the distribution ban on an English-language book covering the nation's modern history on poor English translation. Translators plan to file a suit against Lee Young-jo, the new head of the commission, for libel.

Last month, the commission ordered an end to the distribution of "Historical Background of Korea's Past Settlement," written by former chief commissioner Ahn Byung-ook, perceived a liberal, for its allegedly poor translation.

The suspension was made right after Lee, who was a key member of an affiliate of conservative group New Right Union, took office.

The book says that many of the killings of civilians were conducted by the Korean army, police and right wing organizations. It also says the Park Chung-hee military junta introduced an extreme right-wing fascist regime to Korean society.

One of the translators, named Kim, claimed that the former New Right member found the "truth" uncomfortable. "While the New Right focuses on the economic fruits of the past administrations, the commission has highlighted the human rights infringements," he said. "Citing the translational errors is a mere stunt to gloss over the ideological war. However, that has hurt our dignity and pride as professional translators."

Kim, who works both as a translator and interpreter, was invited to help in the commission's seminars and events after the book's release. "They shouldn't have hired me if I had problems with English proficiency," he said. The book was released last March, translated by three experts and proofread by three English-speaking foreigners. The commission has printed 2,000 copies and distributed 1,200 of them.

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1 comment:

Antonio said...

The translator as scapegoat, now that is a poor and dull political practice. ¿Is there any imagination left in South Korea? ¿what is going to be next, shooting the pianist? :)