SOURCE: A Plus Translations Inc.

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February 21, 2018 13:09 ET

Vancouver Translation Agency Shares How Translation Snagged a Man Booker Prize for Korean Novelist

Vancouver APlus Translation agency shares rare insight on the art of translating a Korean novel to English

VANCOUVER, BC--(Marketwired - February 21, 2018) - As a translation agency based in Vancouver, the team at APlus Translations knows that translation services rarely get any attention. However, a British literary graduate named Deborah Smith changed that with her excellent work on Han Kang's novel "The Vegetarian." For more, go to:

Deborah, who graduated in the late 2000s, decided she wanted to become a translator when she noticed that South Korea had a stunningly rich literary scene. However, few of these stories could ever be shared due to a shortage of Korean to English translators.

Within three years, Deborah had signed up as a translator of Han Kang's novel "The Vegetarian." The translation of the book, which garnered limited success in Korea, went on to win the Man Booker prize. However, Deborah's work quickly came under the scrutiny of numerous academics who claimed the meaning was sometimes skewed or altered.

A group of translation students analyzed a part of the novel, line by line, and came up with some statistics:

  • 9% of the first part of the novel was mistranslated, in the sense that different words were used in English to represent the Korean ones;
  • Another 5.7% of the original text was omitted;
  • 5% of the text consists of hyperbole where words and meaning was added (to render it more effective for a Western audience, says the translator)
  • The remainder was a faithful translation of the original.

Although Deborah admits responsibility for some error, she claimed some artistic license was necessary to accurately represent words and sayings that have no exact equivalency in English.

Translators need to take liberties to ensure the target document reads naturally given the readership and its cultural innuendos. This is the art of the translator. And given the success of the book's translation, the quality of Deborah's work speaks for itself.

To learn more about the translation services available at APlus Translations, please contact or 604-729-4540.

About the Company

Founded in 2002, APlus Translations Translations aims to provide a highly personalized, flexible translation service for businesses and clients. Their business has primarily grown through referrals and recommendations, and today they have access to an extensive network of translators that allows them to offer over 45 languages to their clients.

For more information, please visit or call 604-729-4540.

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