My birthday is in two days, but I got a special gift today! I went into Livraria Cultura, a huge bookstore here in São Paulo, and almost immediately was drawn to a cover not completely unfamiliar to me. To my utter surprise, it was the Brazilian edition of Shin Kyung Sook’s Please look after mom (엄마를 부탁해)! They used the UK cover, my favourite one, so I noticed it on the spot!
Do I even need to say how surprised and absolutely overjoyed this made me? Well, I was ecstatic. So much in fact, that I almost bought two copies of the book, just in case, you know? Fortunately, I got my senses back before reaching the cashier, but I was really this close to bringing them both home with me. Silly, I know, but for this short-lived moment, I felt that it was just a matter of time until Brazilian publishers realised that Korean literature rocks big time and started working hard on translations of some of the best-known authors out there. It’s not that I think that this will never happen, no, nothing like this. It’s just that, taking into account that Brazilians don’t really read, I’d say this process will take much longer than I’d like it to take. Baby steps, baby steps!
Still, it is something! I mean, up until now, my only source for Korean literature of any kind was Amazon. So, being able to go into a physical store and leaf through a book written by a Korean author and, even more amazing, have this book translated into my mother tongue… Well, it blew my mind, really.
That was quite a birthday gift, I tell you. I didn’t even open it yet, because I wanna do it on May 2nd, slowly, savouring every second of this experience. I just really hope the translator did a good job.
Korean e-book X Brazilian edition: translation challenges
My Korean is still pretty much Elementary, but I got 엄마를 부탁해 (in Korean, of course) for iPhone a few months ago. The reason why I got it is that it’s also an audiobook and I desperately need to improve my listening skills. I also find the sound of Korean really soothing and this book does a better job of getting me to calm down than white noise or nature sounds (it sounds stupid, but it’s true, what can I do?). Despite having just a basic knowledge of the language now, I think it’ll be interesting trying to compare, in the future, how the translator – whoever he/she is – dealt with all the challenges that undoubtedly arose during the translation process.
If you have an Apple device, you can get this e-book here.
Please look after mom links
A woman goes missing in Seoul (The New York Times) – review by Mythili G. Rao
Review – Please look after mom (The Washington Post) – by Art Taylor
10 Magazine Interview with Shin Kyung-sook (KTLIT)– by Charles Montgomery
Interview: novelist Shin Kyung-sook Part 1 and Part 2 (subject object verb)
This and this (KTLIT) – on the differences between US and UK covers
Changbi audiobooks for iPhone/iPod – where I learnt about the above-mentioned audiobook
edit: Portuguese speakers may enjoy this interview with the Shin Kyung-sook. She speaks Korean in it, but the subtitles are in Portuguese.