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This article examines the controversy over ( ), Deborah Smith’s English translation of Han Kang’s Korean novel, (2007). The translation, winner of the Man Booker International Prize in 2016, provoked a heated discussion in South Korea. A close analysis of three influential articles – , and  – shows how the debates on the supposed mistranslation of are dominated by a preoccupation with fidelity and literal translation. They dismiss the translator’s interpretation or transformation, regarding accuracy or fidelity as the sole criterion for a good translation. Significantly, the critics’ advocacy of literal translation, and hence their objections to , reflect three levels of political anxiety: over ‘superior’ translation, over ‘English’ translation, and over a female translator’s ‘feminist’ translation.


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