Lost (And/Or Gained) In Translation

The popularity of the new Gatbsy flick in South Korea has led to a high demand for translations of the novel, and that’s led to problems:

“‘Some people say that using some slang is one way to modernize the classics so that the young generation would feel more comfortable reading the book,’ said the professor, adding that Kim Young-ha argues his style is young to satiate such desires.

In Kim Young-ha’s version of the book, the main characters, Jay Gatsby, played by DiCaprio in the movie; Daisy Buchanan, the love of Gatsby’s life; her husband, Tom Buchanan; the narrator and Gatsby’s friend Nick Carraway speak in less formal language, even in the scenes where they get acquainted for the first time. The professor argues that the use of formal language in conversations among the main characters is more appropriate.”

I have an objective goal now — to raise my Korean level to the point where I can handle Kim Young-ha’s admittedly impressionistic translation of The Great Gatsby.  He’s an amazing novelist and I love the idea of him “modernizing” the American classic, authorial intention be damned.

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