Korean literature becomes popular abroad

Cover of the English translation of Ma Yeong-shin’s graphic novel “Moms” (LTI Korea)

Reflecting the growing popularity of Korean literature, 180 literary works were translated into 29 different languages ​​with the help of the Korea Literature Translation Institute this year.

This is the largest number of books translated in a year since LTI Korea was founded in 1996.

LTI Korea said that the increased demand for Korean literature in overseas markets is also reflected in the number of requests for translation assistance it has received this year.

A total of 156 foreign publishers have applied for translation and publishing assistance from LTI Korea after purchasing the copyrights for Korean literary works this year. The institute added that there were only 13 requests for this support when it launched in 2014.

“Before, we mainly worked with Korean publishers who were trying to expand overseas. But this figure shows that the demand from foreign publishers for Korean literature has increased, ”an LTI Korea official told the Korea Herald. “Since not all books are translated and published overseas through us, we believe there may very well be more cases of overseas publishers buying copyright in Korean literature. “

Cover of the English translation of “The Disaster Tourist” by Yun Ko-eun (LTI Korea)

LTI Korea added that the increased interest in Korean literature is due to Hallyu’s ever-growing global influence as well as quality translations.

These changes are partly due to the fact that several Korean writers like Yun Ko-eun and Ma Yeong-shin have won international awards, LTI Korea said.

In July, Yun’s novel “The Disaster Tourist” became the first in Korea to win in the Crime Fiction in Translation Dagger category at the CWA Daggers. The Dagger Awards, awarded by the Crime Writers’ Association in the United Kingdom, recognize excellence in the art of detective writing.

Ma’s graphic novel “Moms” won the Harvey Award for Best International Book of the Year in October. Established in 1988, the Harvey Awards select quality comics, graphic novels and manga to commemorate the literary achievements of Harvey Kurtzman (1924-1993).

Demand for translated editions of books by South Korean novelist Han Kang, who won the International Man Booker Prize in 2016, has grown significantly in recent years as well.

According to LTI Korea, a total of 47 translations of Han’s works received her translation support, while less than 10 translations were available before she won the award in 2016.

There are over 200 Korean books in translation – including “Three Generations of Railway Workers” by Hwang Sok-yong which is published in Spain, and “28” by Jeong You-jeong which is published in Indonesia – which will come in foreign languages. ‘next year.

To meet the increased demand, the institute said it will come up with publishing strategies for different countries soon.

By Song Seung-hyun ([email protected])

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