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The Korea Now Podcast

Jul 5, 2020

This episode of the Korea Now podcast features an interview that Jed Lea-Henry conducted with Ross King. They speak about the landscape of Korean-to-English literary translation, the rise in interest over the past few years and support for the practice, how such translation can be taught and the challenges that exist within the field, the organisations that support and fund this translation, the bureaucratic and underlying assumptions behind this funding and support, the misplaced resistance against people studying Korean literature outside of Korea as well as the bias towards outbound translation, the structures and attitudes that are holding back the achievement of wider spread and more impressive Korean-to-English literary translation, and importantly Ross’s personal experiences working and teaching within this area of study.

Ross King is a Professor of Korean language and literature at the University of British Columbia, as well as the Head of the Department of Asian Studies at the University of British Columbia. He completed his B.A. in Linguistics at Yale and his doctorate in Linguistics (Korean) at Harvard. Ross taught Korean language and linguistics at the School of Oriental and African Studies, University of London, from 1990 to 1994, before accepting his current position. Ross's research interests range from Korean historical grammar, dialectology and pedagogy to the language, culture and history of the ethnic Korean minority in the former Soviet Union. He was also the founding Dean of the Korean Language Village at Concordia Language Villages, from 1999-2013, a Korean language and culture summer immersion program for young people ages 7 to 18 that is based in northern Minnesota. Pertinent to this podcast, Ross is the author of ‘Infected Korean Language, Purity Verses Hybridity’ (, and ‘Can Korean-to-English Literary Translation be Taught? Some Recommendations for Korean Funding Agencies’ (

*** Ross King’s academic publications can be found at:

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