Friday, June 06, 2014

The Experience of Translating: "Ignōrō et Ignōrā́bō!"

Malcolm Whittaker, Artist
May 29th, 2014
The Guardian

As already noted, I've been asked to give a keynote address at the 13th International Workshop for Translation and Publication of Korean Literature and to speak on the Role of Translators and Literary Agents in Globalizing Korean Literature.

I now have a working draft that I've titled "True Translation?" The draft so far takes 25 minutes to deliver, though I've been allotted 30.

Here's what I've been working on as the Introduction to my talk:
When the LTI Korea asked me to give this keynote address at today's workshop on the role of translators and literary agents, I protested that I really don't know anything about literary agents. Nor particularly about their role in globalizing Korean literature. Nor, I admitted, am I truly a translator. My wife Hwang Sun-Ae is the translator. She is the one who translates Korean into English. I'm simply the "transformer." I transform her English translation into more idiomatic English. I suggested that my wife were better qualified to give this talk, but no, the LTI wanted me. I therefore infer that my ignorance performs some important service here today. 
The service performed is perhaps to demonstrate that even an ignoramus like me can work on a translating team. As for the true experience of translating, here is my motto: "Ignōrō et Ignōrā́bō!"

What does that motto mean? I don't know and I'll never know! I'm not a translator!

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At 12:55 PM, Blogger Carter Kaplan said...

I think this is a great intro.

As you speak, do you think you'll be treating everyone to your trademark coquettish charm? Pausing several times to flirt with the audience could be a great way to fill in that extra five minutes.

At 1:15 PM, Blogger Horace Jeffery Hodges said...

Only if there are beautiful women in attendance and my wife's not present . . .

Jeffery Hodges

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