Seoul International Book Fair 2014: I am a Keynote Speaker!
Two days ago, I received this bone-chilling invitation from the Literature Translation Institute of Korea, requesting that I serve as a keynote speaker this coming June 20th at an international workshop on translating Korean literature:
This [email] is . . . from [the] LTI Korea . . . . During the Seoul International Book Fair, we will hold the 13th International Workshop for Translation and Publication of Korean Literature in COEX building on Friday, June 20 [and] . . . . would like to invite you as a keynote speaker in the workshop; our president Kim Seong-kon strongly recommended you, and he kindly asks you to accept our request. You are expected to have a presentation for about 30 minutes as a keynote speaker . . . . [on the] theme . . . "The Role of Translators and Literary Agents in Globalizing Korean Literature", and you will participate in the first session which will be about educating and nurturing culture and literature translators. In presentation, we would like to have your experience and ideas about . . . working as a translator.I blanched at the request, fearful of presenting myself before the kindness of strangers, for I really know little about the craft of translation -- and absolutely nothing about the role of "Literary Agents"!
My wonderful wife, Sun-Ae Hwang, is the real translator -- she transfers the Korean text into clear English -- whereas my job is to transform that lucid text into literary English.
I, therefore, am a transformer. No, not this kind! More like this kind. But what I really ask myself is, "Well, how did I get here?"