‘Spiderman 3’ is sweeping over theaters,
drawing more than 4 million audiences within 2 weeks in Korea. Moreover, ‘Prison
Break’ caused a great sensation, which led the main character to visit Korea.
However, unlike Korean Movies and dramas, there is one inevitable process for
foreign ones to go through: screen translation.
The English Language and Literature Department colloquium was
held on May 14 in a lecture room 2306 of Sorabol Hall, with the title,
‘International Exchange of Broadcasting Contents and the Present State of Screen
Translation’. The lecturer, Yoon Ho-jung, is working as a producer for KBS
Media, and graduated from Chung-Ang University in 1988. The lecture started with
the landscape of world broadcasting contents, followed by the present state of
screen translation in Korea, social benefits and commercial limits of screen
literatures, and world views needed to students of English literature. And
finally, he ended his lecture with some advice for students.
In our nation, differently from other countries, domestic
contents account for a relatively high percentage of the entire contents in the
broadcasting market. “According to statistics in 2004, the total export of
domestic contents was much more than the total import of foreign contents,” said
Mr. Yoon. He added, “We cannot leave out the influence of ‘Hanryu’ in its
background.” The landscape of broadcasting contents in domestic market, however,
is showing signs of change. According as Korea-U.S. FTA came to an agreement, it
is inevitable to open broadcasting market partially. And then, taking 3 years of
grace period and 2 years for ratification into account, the change will rise to
the surface at least in 5 years.
By sweeping away 49% ownership cap on foreign companies’ access
to the local cable TV, and decreasing Korean TV content quotas for films and
animations, it will be much easier to meet foreign TV programs not only on cable
TV but also on terrestrial TV. Apart from the negative perspective that some
part of the society may take of the inflow of foreign cultural products, within
a couple of years ahead, the broadcasting rate of foreign contents will
increase, which eventually leads to increasing demand for screen translation. It
will probably be the green light for the screen translation business.
However, increasing demand is not the end. Mr. Yoon, who is doing
the job not only of importing contents, but also of translating the contents
into Korean by himself, said that he was hard of hearing in one ear due to
constantly repeated hearing in procedure of translation. “Not a few screen
translators as well as I have some problems in their eyes or ears,” he added.
Despite the fact that screen translation is not that easy work as we can see
from what he said, people have a tendency to consider it something unimportant.
In Korea, translators, compared to authors, have been treated badly, and screen
translators are not exception. It means we are under circumstance where there
are not enough systematic screen translator training programs and qualified
screen translators. So, what we urgently need is the change of social viewpoint
toward screen translation, and much more qualified screen
Then, what does Mr. Yoon think the essential conditions for a
screen translator are? First of all, those who want to be a screen translator
have to be fairly good at English. For this, hard endeavors are needed, as he
said, “Memorize 2 thousand words a day”. But it is just a basic step to become a
screen translator. Second of all, they have to be able to enjoy film, drama, and
so on. Considering that the job requires watching the same images tens or
hundreds of times, this is surely the case. And then, screen translation
requires sufficient knowledge of broadcasting mechanism. He also said, “It is
necessary to have a balanced view which enables you to understand both
cultures.” That is, it requires global mind. Even more importantly, we have to
break out of our comfort zone that makes us stuck in a rut. Finally, saying, “I
keep revising what I have done until the deadline comes”, he stressed that to be
a screen translator required constant revision of his or her own works.
The lecture went longer than expected, but students kept asking
questions after the lecture finished. The questions were diverse, from specific
ways to become a screen translator to possible market value of screen
translation business. Even though there was not much time for the question and
answer period, the students showed their passionate interest in screen
translation. The broadcasting industry now looks busy to cope with economic
aftermath of Korea-U.S. FTA. As well as that, I hope that from now on the proper
foundation is provided for the students who want to be a screen
translator. < 저작권자 © 중앙헤럴드 무단전재 및 재배포금지 >