From a very early age of my life, I lived in three different countries: Korea, of course, the U.S. for four years, and Japan for another four. I believe it is fair to say that I speak, read and write three different languages with certain degree of fluency.
Growing up with a different background such as one mentioned above, I came to realize that I notice certain things more acutely than my peers. It started back in Korea when I was reading books not written by Korean authors. With economy in Korea booming at an unprecedented rate, which is often described as ‘miracle’, a number of industries followed the suit. Publishing was one of them. Printed and published were books after books, and still are. An alarming rate of growth in publishing industry could not possibly be met by limited supply of native Korean writers, and needed help from elsewhere: works from across the sea. It was all ok, in my limited opinion, except for one blemish.
I cannot forget what I heard from a veteran translator: “We, translators, are writers.” How many times have I encountered a book which is so awfully translated that an unnecessary effort was needed to read through where it was merely to enjoy. I admit that I sometimes overreact and jump off the bat in this matter, but it is something that is felt by many fellow Koreans. It is no wonder I got interested in serious Korean translation myself.