A Critical Content Analysis of Korean-to-English and English-to-Korean Translated Picture Books
Keywordscritical content analysis
Language, Reading & Culture
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AbstractThis study explores cultural representations and cultural adaptations made by translators in translated children's picture books. This study has two focuses. In the first part of this study, which is a critical content analysis, I examine the cultural representations depicted in Korean-to-English and English-to-Korean translated picture books, using cultural studies as a theoretical framework. In the second part of this study, I compare original and translated editions of Caldecott and popular Korean picture books to find out how the translators adapt cultural, ideological, and linguistic conflicts in the process of translation, using translation as a dialogic process. For the first part of this study, I found four categories related to the cultural representations: (1) a sense of belonging and societal membership; (2) constructing and challenging gender stereotypes; (3) constructing images of childhood; and (4) dominant visual images of South Korea/the United States. These findings indicate that the insider authors of Korean culture try to show authentic images of South Korea, using contemporary fiction stories. The Korean translated books also deal with various images of American culture authentically from historical fiction to contemporary fiction. However, a small number of books do not show broad cultural representations of both cultures. In the second focus of this study on cultural adaptations, the analysis directly compared original and translated editions of the same texts. The themes of cultural familiarity, adaptations regarding illustrations, completely different translations, omissions, additions, and changes of titles or book jackets were identified. These findings indicate that most American and Korean translators purposely made cultural adaptations in the process of translation in order to help target readers to have better understanding of these international books. Additionally, they did not change essential authentic features, such as the characters' names and geographic names. I also found mistranslations between the original and translated editions of books. These changes could have occured because the translators lacked knowledge of both cultures or of the deep structures of the stories. The implication section provides recommendations to publishers, translators, educators, parents, teacher educators, and researchers and suggestions for further research.