In this installment, we’re excited to share another NTM premiere: a moving and harrowing excerpt from the novel One Left by Kim Sum, translated from the Korean by the powerhouse duo Bruce and Ju-Chan Fulton. The novel tells the stories of Korean “comfort women,” in fact young girls (their average age was 16; some were as young as 12) forced into sexual servitude for the Japanese military forces during WWII, serving an estimated 15 to 50 men a day. Only 20,000 of these “comfort women” are thought to have survived and made it back to Korea after the war. And only a few told their horrific stories of trauma and abuse to author Kim Sum who researched and gathered testimonies for her novel Han myŏng (literally “one person,” in translation One Left). The first Korean novel devoted exclusively to the subject of the comfort women, it was published in Seoul, Korea, in 2016.
The translators Bruce and Ju-Chan Fulton have received several awards and fellowships for their work, including two National Endowment for the Arts Translation Fellowships and a residency at the Banff International Literary Translation Centre, the first ever awarded for translators from any Asian language. For their translation of One Left, Bruce and Ju-Chan Fulton received an America PEN Heim Translation Grant, only the second such award for a Korean project.
We hope you’ll enjoy this terrific excerpt as much as we did. Let us know what you think using #TranslationMonth. Happy National Translation Month and happy reading!
—Claudia Serea and Loren Kleinman