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Acta Koreana is published semi-annually on June 15 and December 15 by Academia Koreana, Keimyung University.
Title “Arpan” By PARK HYOUNG-SU
Volume Vol. 17 No. 2
Pages pp. 695~713 (all 19 pages)
Publication Date DECEMBER, 2014
Abstract Born in Ch’unch’ŏn, Kangwŏn Province, in 1972, Park Hyoung-su (Pak Hyŏng-sŏ) studied Korean literature at Hanyang University, and later completed a Ph.D. at Korea University, where he lectures on creative writing. He made his official debut as a writer in 2000 by the recommendation of Hyŏndae munhak and has won various awards with four collections of short fiction and one full-length novel published to date.
Arpan was published in his latest collection of short fiction entitled Krabi (Kkŭrabi, 2014), and was also included in the 11th Hwang Sun-wŏn Literary Prize collection in 2011. The story is set in Seoul, where the narrator, a successful author, invites his unwitting writing mentor, Arpan, from a mountain region called Wakha on the Thai-Myanmar border to Korea to take part in a literary festival. Laced with the narrator’s memories of having lived as an outsider in Wakha years earlier, Arpan is a story which echoes across the mountains of Wakha and along the skyscraper-lined streets of Seoul and will surely linger in the heart of any translator who has the chance to read it. While the character of Arpan may lead to soul-searching on the motives behind creativity in the developed world, the story brings into doubt the idea that any creation can ever be truly original and shows that through interaction and experience with another culture an outsider can inherit something too meaningful to be meddled with by ownership.
The translation of Arpan presented here was undertaken as coursework as part of the intensive course at the translation academy of the Literature Translation Institute of Korea in 2012. The translators took it in turns to translate a page each and then edited each other’s work after which the story was completed with guidance from Dr. Kim Chung-hee and edited again following much discussion by the whole class on appropriate words and interpretations. After deciding to submit this translation for publication here, we also received great help and encouragement from Professor Kevin O’Rourke in preparing the final version.
It seems only a fitting tribute to a story on translation and ownership that so many hands and minds contributed to this rendering of it.
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