Meet my translator

Posted by jerry on November 17th, 2005 — Posted in Journal, Writing

The other day at Gus’ cafe I met the Korean translator of my book for the first time. Dr Young-Min YUN met me with a big smile and we ordered coffee and some food. We discussed how he came to translate my book. “Ah,” he said “There is a story to that…” and he told me of the Graduate student who had suggested jointly translating my book into Korean, and how, having secured the rights from Routledge, the student then told Dr Yun that the language was too difficult – leaving him with a choice: either lose some face by withdrawing the project, or completing the project himself. It took 12 months, and the result is in every major bookstore in Korea.

I asked him about the title – I had laboriously tried to translate the new title – the @ sign gave away that the title had changed, and I knew that the word after @ was ‘Internet’ – so I knew that it was ‘Something @ Internet’ and not ‘Virtual States’. Young-Min smiled again “The word is ‘State’ – so the title is ‘State @ Internet'” I was curious. “You see…” he explained “‘Virtual‘ is not an easy concept to translate into Korean and I had to come up with something that would be easily understood as somehow summing up the book”. I complimented him on his choice.

He clearly enjoyed the project and asked me animatedly about the concept of ‘liminal space‘ and how he found the concept really useful. He has been using the book on his university courses since 2002 when the translation was published.

All too soon lunch was drawing to a close and we each had other appointments. We signed each other’s copies of the book. “one more thing” he said, and quickly produced a camera. We called over a waitress who smiled when we asked her to take a photo of us together.

Young-Min Yun and Jerry Everard
Young-Min YUN and Jerry Everard

We stood and shook hands. “Anyonghi kyeseyo” I said and Young-Min’s eyebrows rose “Ah you speak Korean!” “just a few phrases” I said and we parted as the rain began.


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