Translators Associations Asia Pacific: KATS

The visible and complex role of translation

Translators Associations Asia Pacific: KATSThe Korean Association of Translation Studies (KATS) was founded in October 1999, when the subject was not yet recognised in Korea as a separate branch of scholarly pursuit. This translators association was created with its mind set on the upcoming century, with the purpose of changing things in the world of Korean translation.

According to KATS, they have been able to successfully gather a whole set of scholars who are “committed to making exhaustive researches in this field”, having provided them with “opportunities to publish their papers” for example, in the association’s journal. They say that nowadays, they are “as good as any other society in terms of the number of members and the depth of research” conducted under the association’s baton.

The international conference organised by the Korean translators association as a celebration for its 10th anniversary, in 2009, is considered a great example of how successful the organisation has become. World-renowned scholars like Mona Baker, Michael Cronin or Ernst-August Gutt delivered presentations, during the Autumn – by the way the best time to visit to visit Korea, according to KATS – of 2009. The event had the aim of problematising and exploring the consequences of the extraordinary advances in communication technology and the resulting shifts in the organisation of economies and societies.

In this era, so profoundly marked by cultural diversity and globalisation, KATS believes that “the role of translation has become more visible and complex”. That comes as a result of the intensification of linguistic exchanges, the amplification of the demand for translation services, as well as the current status of English as the “international lingua franca”. It is their belief that the development of internet and web-based technologies that might have brought along the concomitant increasing of the speed and the decreasing cost of communication, has profoundly changed the meaning and the practice of translation at local, national and international levels.

According to the Korean translators association, “These changes aremost clearly manifested in the mode in which translational activity is carried out, the translating agents involved in the process and their networks, the power relationships that exist between related languages, the institutionalization of translational activity, the relationship between translation policy and identity, and the cultural and social roles played by translators and translations”.

KATS is responsible for publishing the Journal of Translation Studies, an active bulletin, that has been contributing towards clarifying the profession since 2000.

Keep in mind that Korean is the official language of South Korea and North Korea. It is also one of the two official languages in the Yanbian Korean Autonomous Prefecture in People's Republic of China. There are about 78 million Korean speakers worldwide.

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