From Translation Studies to Korean Studies through a Paratextual Analysis of Bandi’s Kobal


Seung-eun SUNG, Soyoung PARK, Jai-Ung HONG, Yoo-jung KIM, Hyejin KIM

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This study explores paratextual transformations in the translation of Kobal 고발 by the North Korean writer Bandi (Pandi 반디) in terms of intralingual, interlingual, and intersemiotic translation. The manuscript was originally smuggled out of North Korea and published in South Korea by a right-wing publisher as a book on anti-communism. It has since been translated in 28 countries, gaining worldwide attention and winning the English PEN award. It was also republished in South Korea, with a focus on human rights through paratextual transformation. Paratexts act as powerful packaging instruments largely influenced by socio-cultural context. As a publication written by a North Korean writer, the paratexts in translations of Kobal are directly related to how the receiving country sees South and North Korea. We examine six translations in different languages centering on the paratextual changes, including the title, cover image, prefatorial material, and epitext to explore the perspectives inherent in them and the ways they interact with each other. This analysis of paratextual shifts involves not only translators, publishers, and editors, but also a much wider variety of agents such as literary agents, critics, journalists, and reviewers. This study thus seeks to demonstrate the possibility of expanding the links between translation studies and Korean studies, and also of broadening the horizons of translation studies.


Paratexts and Translation
Research Method
Paratextual Analysis
Cover Images
Prefatorial material
Discussion and Conclusion


  • Seung-eun SUNG Associate Professor in the Ingenium College of Convergence Studies, Hankuk University of Foreign Studies.
  • Soyoung PARK Associate Professor in the Department of Foreign Languages, Korea Military Academy.
  • Jai-Ung HONG Adjunct Professor in the Department of Scandinavian Languages, Hankuk University of Foreign Studies.
  • Yoo-jung KIM Ph.D Candidate at the University of Paris VIII Vincennes-Saint-Denis.
  • Hyejin KIM Associate Professor in the Department of Greek Studies and Bulgarian Studies, Hankuk University of Foreign Studies.


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