Survival through Indirect Translation: Pablo Neruda’s Veinte poemas de amor y una canción desesperada into Korean

Hyung-jin Lee 1
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1Sookmyung Women’s University

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.

Published Online: Jan 01, 2017


Problematizing the long-standing practice of and negative perspectives regarding indirect translation in literature, this paper aims to discuss its general characteristics and cultural background as well as its creative potential in poetry translation, based on the textual analysis of Pablo Neruda’s Veinte poemas de amor y una canción desesperada [Twenty Poems of Love and a Song of Despair]1 which has been translated into Korean via an English translation. The paper points out that in Korea the practice of indirect translation has been generally related to the reception of major canonical literatures, and that the languages of political or cultural hegemony of the time such as Japanese and English have been the middle language. An analysis of the English and Korean translations of Neruda’s poetry collection indicates that, while it is inevitable that indirect translation has produced unintentional and sometimes unnecessary textual modifications, its translation strategy of literal translation as well as the translator’s in-depth knowledge of the poet and poet’s poetic world, despite the translator’s lack of proficiency in Spanish, has rather contributed to creating the expansion and diversification of new poetic dimension of the poem, which has been a byproduct of indirect translation.

Keywords: indirect translation; poetry translation; Pablo Neruda; literal translation; English translation; Korean translation; title translation; rewriting; creation



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