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Why is translating so… difficult?

February 24, 2012

In all my Korean learning experience, translating has got to be the most hardest task of all. Whenever I read Korean content, any sentence above 10 words will be very hard for me translate. I can only understand individual words, rather than combining them together to form an overall meaning.

I’ll give an example from a TTMIK 이야기.

이번 주제 통해서 저희가 어렸을 때 공부를 과연 열심히 했는지, 안 했는지 알 수 있을 것 같아요.”

I’ll know that:

  • 어번 주제 동해서= through this topic
  • 저회 어렸을때= when we were young
  • 공부를 과연 열심히 했는지=  Did not really study hard
  • 안 했는지= did not
  • 알 수 있을 것 같아요= I think you understand

And that’s where everything ends! I can get a feel for what the sentence is conveying but not entirely – and I won’t be able to translate it ti English.

What are some of the methods you use to dissect Korean sentences. What process do you go through in order to translate?

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