Universalizing the Particular in Korean-to-English Translations: The Case of a Korean Short Story, ‘Memilkkot p’il muryŏp’

Ocksue Park 1 ,
Author Information & Copyright
1Yeungnam University
Corresponding Author : Ocksue Park, Department of English, College of Liberal Arts, Yeungnam University 214-1 Dae-dong, Gyeongsan-si, Gyeongsangbuk-do, Korea. Phone: +82-(0)2-053-810-2134; Email:

Copyright ⓒ 2016, Sejong University Language Research Institue. This is an Open-Access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution Non-Commercial License ( which permits unrestricted non-commercial use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.

Received: Jan , 2011; Revised: Jan , 2011; Accepted: Feb , 2011

Published Online: Jan 01, 2017


While research on Korean-to-English literary translation has progressed beyond a mere bibliographic perspective, there has been little focus on the translator’s strategy or on the assessment of the translation. The present study has identified the strategy employed by the translators of a Korean short story, ‘Memilkkot p’il muryŏp’, in terms of the norms they utilize. With its components of both universality and Korea’s unique folk culture, the story has appealing elements that will attract Western readers. This research focuses on enhancing the reading experience for English speakers of the story, identify the norms applied by the translators, and provide a research methodology for the field of Korean-to-English literary translation analysis. The analysis focuses on how the style of the original text is transferred to the three target texts (TTs). Initially, the source text (ST) is closely examined to investigate the cultural status of the original and the acceptability of the translation in the target culture. Then the ST and the TTs are compared and analyzed quantitatively and qualitatively. In the quantitative analysis, the three TTs focus on communicating with TT readers. Their strategies are TT-oriented and focused on communicating with TT readers. The results of qualitative analysis define the quality of the TTs, which varies according to the norms adopted by each translator.

Keywords: literary translation; norms; translation strategy; culture- bound; TT-oriented



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