Earlier this month, Jan Henrik Dirks won the
Daesan Literary Award for translation… for his work in translating Korean literature,
Jung Young-moon’s “Vaseline Buddha” into German.
The Daesan Literary Awards body is run by the Daesan Foundation… established by the
founder of Korea’s largest bookstore Kyobo Book Center.
In person this week: Jan Henrik Dirks, professor of European Literature at Gachon University.
Jan, great to have you in the studio. Your work was described as “a flowing translation
of high literary value that announces the introduction of a third generation of translators.”
But, before we get into further details, let me begin by asking how you got into translating
Korean literature? What was it about Vaseline Buddha that motivated
you to take on this huge project of translating this literature? I’m sure it took much courage
off the journey all alone – many translators work in pairs, one Korean and one native translator
the other language. What
are the particular joys and challenges of
translating Korean into German? We often talk about things being lost in translation.
How do you minimize the content, meaning, or nuisance being lost in translation? Share with us your favorite phrase or clause
from Vaseline Buddha —
an example of your work
of literature in translation. Have you started translating other Korean
literature works? What are your plans from here on forth? We look forward to another extraordinary piece
introducing Korean literature to German readers. Jan Henrik Dirk, winner of the Daesan Literary
Award in translation… thanks so much for coming in and speaking with us tonight. We