Translation and Korean Language Education

   November 5 (Fri) 8:00-10:00pm (EST)

   Via Zoom (a link will be provided to the AATK members on 11/1 and 11/4 via email)
   If you are interested in this event, you can renew or join the AATK membership here.

Moderator:  Young-mee Yu Cho (Rutgers University)
Ad-hoc Committee:  Hi-Sun Kim (Harvard University) & Danielle Pyun (The Ohio State University)

The earliest method of foreign language education involved “Grammar Translation Method” that applied to classical written languages such as Latin and Greek between the 15th to the 19th century. In reaction to structured grammar instruction based on literary works, modern language teaching of the 20th century embraced new theories of linguistics with its emphasis on the spoken language, exemplified by the Audio-lingual Method and Communicative Language Teaching (CLT). In particular, for three decades since the 1980s when the structuralist language policies were still dominant, translation has been totally shunned in language education. The more critical poststructuralist era has brought about completely different approaches to language teaching, represented by second language identities (Block 2007), symbolic competence (Kramsch 2006, 2009), multiliteracies (The New London Group 1996), and translanguaging (Garcia & Wei 2014). These new revolutionary frameworks reconceptualize foreign language education as fostering dynamic critical thinking skills and deeper comprehension of the text and the world, a radical departure from CLT’s emphasis on the learner’s step-by-step development towards the predefined goal of communicative competency through the target-language only policy in the classroom. What these new theories have in common is privileging fluid and uniquely individualistic language practices of multilingual speakers. Now is the time to reevaluate the pedagogical use of translation in KFL.



Translation as co-learning process in KFL classroom: Between and beyond Korean and English

Jieun Kiaer (University of Oxford)

Through the rise of K-pop and K-literature, the spotlight is now on their common medium: the Korean language. This talk will expand on the case study of our experience teaching the Korean language through the process of the cultural and linguistic act of translation. Acts of translation are inherently translingual. By performing them, individuals develop understanding of the meanings they are trying to communicate that go between and beyond the linguistic and cultural conventions of the socially named languages traditionally referred to as source language and target language. Taking our inspiration from the concepts and practices of translanguaging pedagogy, we approach translation as an opportunity to foster and promote such understanding and to reconfigure the traditional roles of the teacher and the taught. We will demonstrate that this approach to translation as co-learning process can bring benefits to all involved.

            Here, I present observations of applying these methods to translating a song, a poem and a novel – with groups of English primary school-age, secondary school-age and university-age Korean learners taking part in translation workshops that approach translation as co-learning. Overall, the act of translation coupled with a collaborative approach to pedagogy encapsulated in this method makes them better able to engage with the language and helps them to learn the linguistic knowledge embedded in context. It is this contextualisation language teaching that we consider one of the great strengths of translation as a pedagogic technique. Reflecting on our experiences of co-learning through translation, we realise that it empowers not only the learners but also the teachers, enhancing their intercultural, intergenerational understanding. Drawing on the results of the workshops, this talk investigates the correlation between learning the Korean language through the act of translation and the effects of translation studies on linguistic education. We will present our observations of our participants’ learning, where the practice of translation affects one’s cultural and linguistic understanding and appreciation, and how the notion of translanguaging manifests within these practices.

            To conclude, we consider the possible implications of both the co-learning methods presented here and their application. In contrast to translation as it has come to be viewed due to its association with the Grammar-Translation method, we envisage it as an act with the potential to stimulate innovation, motivation, and liberation.


Translation Studies, Localization, and Korean Language Teaching

Youn Soo Kim Goldstein (Weber State University)

Translation Studies seeks to understand how, when, where, and by whom translation occurs; localization is a field and industry that brings together linguistic skills and cultural fluency to adapt a product or content for a specific locale or market. The Korean language classroom is a place in which translational actions happen; and as Korean language students expand their knowledge of the Korean language and culture, they may start to explore what they can do with it after their college years. In this talk, I seek to make inquiries informed by Translation Studies and localization about Korean language teaching. I raise the following questions: How can we think about Korean language education through the lens of Translation Studies? More specifically, what insights can the “translational turn” in the humanities provide for language teaching? How can we expand Korean language teaching beyond the required general education courses at universities, to encourage students to further pursue and continue studying Korean? What can we draw from the demands of the localization and language services industry to apply to Korean language lesson plans, curriculum, and program design? Through this discussion, we can start to think about the ways in which the Korean language classroom can be studied as a site for Translation Studies research and to think beyond the language classroom to meet students’ needs for utilizing and applying their language skills.


Jieun Kaier (University of Oxford),  Youn Soo Kim Goldstein (Weber State University),
Yujeong Choi (The University of Toronto),  Junghee Park (UC Berkeley),  Yuseon Yun (Princeton University)


Back translation using webtoons in KFL classrooms

Yujeong Choi (The University of Toronto)

With the emergence of webtoons in the early 2000s, webtoons are captivating an increasing number of readers with their wide variety of genres and intriguing stories. Reflecting the popularity of webtoons, webtoons are often produced in dramas or movies. However, despite this popularity, using webtoons in a Korean language education is rarely practiced. This study proposes a back translation of writing using webtoons. Back translation refers to translate the translated text into the original text without looking at the original text (Crystal, 2004:5-6). The use of webtoons to back translation can relieve the pain and boredom of writing, enhance the enjoyment of writing, and maximize comprehension by comparing the translation of the peer students with the student’s own. Six students from an advanced class were involved in the study, and they were tasked with translating the text from English into Korean. After the back translation, two or three students were grouped into one group to provide feedback on each other’s translation. The teacher also provided final feedback. Students were then asked to submit a second draft after receiving feedback in the following week. In the back translation of webtoons, students were able to acquire expressions that are difficult to achieve in the classroom, such as narrative style, onomatopoeia, adverbs, and exclamations. Using back translation of webtoons was positively evaluated by students.


Teaching Korean through translation of literary works: promoting translingual and transcultural competencies at an advanced level.

Junghee Park (UC Berkeley)

The beneficial role of translation in the development of translingual and transcultural competencies will be examined through the lens of teaching Korean through translation of literary works at an advanced level. In a 4th year Korean class, students compared different Korean translations of an English literary work and worked on their own translations of the English text into Korean. These exercises helped students develop a deep understanding of important linguistic features that are considered Korean-specific, such as honorifics, address terms, and diverse sentence endings. Students were encouraged to think creatively about Korean while exercising precision in conveying the relevant cultural context from one language to the other. Moreover, because student translations reflect each student’s cultural values and personal stance, the translations can be said to have been a valuable learner-oriented learning process that elicited and developed each student’s creativity and style—essential for advanced Korean learners. Students, moreover, were able to improve their metalinguistic competence by analyzing how they picked one form over another and by discussing the transfer process between the two languages.


Machine Translation Post-Editing Activity for Improving Advanced-Level Korean Learners’ Accuracy

Yuseon Yun (Princeton University)

While many teachers express plagiarism concerns due to learners’ using machine translation (MT) services such as Google Translate in a language class, a substantial amount of research has supported the advantages of MT as a pedagogical tool. This pilot study also explores how MT enhances students’ awareness of subtle aspects of language differences and students’ translation and linguistic competence by shedding light on post-editing activity. Post-editing refers to editing and correcting a pre-translated text processed by a machine translator into an agreed standard. In this study, students at an advanced level were assigned three MT-translated articles (from English to Korean) and then asked to post-edit them. When students fulfilled the post-editing tasks, they were also required to refer to the original articles in English to better see deficiencies in MT-translated texts. Based on the collected learners’ post-editing works, this study examines how the MT post-editing activities affected Korean language learners’ improvement in their linguistic competence and target language accuracy.

About the presenters:

Jieun Kiaer is YBM KF Professor of Korean Language and Linguistics at the University of Oxford. She publishes widely on Korean language, linguistics and translation. Her recent publication on Korean translation includes The Routledge Course in Korean Translation (Routledge 2017), Korean Literature Through the Korean Wave (with Anna Yates-Lu, Routledge 2019) and On Translating Modern Korean Poetry (with Anna Yates-Lu and Mattho Mandersloot, Routledge 2021). She is the Series Editor for Routledge Studies in East Asian Translation.


Youn Soo Kim Goldstein is Ambrose Amos Shaw Assistant Professor of Localization and Translation in the Department of Foreign Languages at Weber State University, where she teaches courses about practices and theories of translation and localization, as well as Korean language courses. She received her Ph.D. in Translation Studies at Binghamton University, State University of New York in 2019. Her research interests include translation theories, literature and society, translation and society, decoloniality, and curriculum theory.
Yujeong Choi is an Assistant Professor in the Department of East Asian Studies at The University of Toronto. She is interested in second/foreign language acquisition, project-based learning, and educational technology.
Junghee Park is a Lecturer at UC Berkeley, where she has been teaching the Korean language at all levels and in many areas, from the reading of Korean literature to academic/professional use of Korean. She earned a Ph.D. in applied linguistic at UCLA. Her teaching and research interests have been in multimodal and media literacy, curriculum development, and the role of translation in language learning in a multilingual and multicultural world.
Yuseon Yun is a Lecturer in the East Asian Studies Department at Princeton University. She is interested in heritage learners and multimodality in language teaching. She has adopted English texts translated and dubbed in Korean to classrooms of all levels.

This Colloquium is partially supported by the East Asian Studies Center at The Ohio State University.


The 1st AATK Colloquium
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Moderator:  Joowon Suh (Columbia University)

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Kim, Huai-Rhin (Purdue University)

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Choi, Kyeong-Hee (The University of Chicago)

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The 2nd AATK Colloquium
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Moderator:  Hi-Sun Kim (Harvard University)

Terror on the Steppe: The Story of the Koryo Saram, the Koreans of Kazakhstan
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Diaspora is the Future
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Language of Past, Present, and Future: Korean Language and Diasporic Circulation of Affect
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