to make a fundamental contribution to the future of Korea

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Mack&Mack

Senior Member
Korea & Korean
Hello,

I am wondering how I should translate the following sentence.

The Korean higher education system is seen to make a fundamental contribution to the future of Korea.

My version would be 한국의 고등교육체제는 한국 미래의 토대를 다지는데 공헌을 한다고 여겨진다.

The thing is that I am not sure if that is what the sentence is getting at.

How would you translate make a fundamental contribution to something into Korean?

Would someone confirm this for me? Many thanks in advance.
 
  • 조금만

    Senior Member
    English - England
    This is one of those cases that makes a translator wish they could tell the author of the original document to think, and write, a bit more clearly before expecting anyone to make sense of it in another language.

    It is actually rather harder to write this sort of half-thought out stuff in Korean, and I think that's where your problem lies, i.e. in the original English, not with your translation skills.

    Leaving the "fundamental" part aside for a moment: strictly speaking, "is seen to make a ... contribution to the future of..." is logical nonsense. I suspect the author had in mind something more like "is viewed as [=is widely believed to be] making a fundamental contribution to..." Would it help if you pretended that's how the English had actually read?

    As for "fundamental", that's as much a rhetorical as a semantic component: it really means no more than "very important". It's not uncommon to find things (equally nonsensical from a logical point of view) like "He has made many fundamental contributions to the field". It says in the Bible that a house built upon sand cannot stand firm: it might also say that a house built upon "many" foundations couldn't even be put up in the first place, but such clichés overlook that.

    My Korean isn't good, but I get the sense that your version is actually saying that the higher education system is being made the foundation of Korea's.... which might well be the literal sense, but in my view takes the rhetoric more seriously than the English author intended, where I take the sense to be simply that that the HE system is seen as extremely important, without necessarily claiming that absolutely everything else in Korea's future really is going to be built upon it.

    But this is I think one of those times where the translator has the Garbage-In-Garbage- Out problem, and since there is no control over the incoming garbage, ends up taking the undeserved rap for the outcome, no matter how skillled and assiduous the translation efforts are.
     

    Mack&Mack

    Senior Member
    Korea & Korean
    This is one of those cases that makes a translator wish they could tell the author of the original document to think, and write, a bit more clearly before expecting anyone to make sense of it in another language.

    It is actually rather harder to write this sort of half-thought out stuff in Korean, and I think that's where your problem lies, i.e. in the original English, not with your translation skills.

    Leaving the "fundamental" part aside for a moment: strictly speaking, "is seen to make a ... contribution to the future of..." is logical nonsense. I suspect the author had in mind something more like "is viewed as [=is widely believed to be] making a fundamental contribution to..." Would it help if you pretended that's how the English had actually read?
    Yes I would. ~로 여겨지다 would be back-translated into being considered as ~. It took me some time to think of this word, to be honest. Thank you for making it clear.

    As for "fundamental", that's as much a rhetorical as a semantic component: it really means no more than "very important". It's not uncommon to find things (equally nonsensical from a logical point of view) like "He has made many fundamental contributions to the field". It says in the Bible that a house built upon sand cannot stand firm: it might also say that a house built upon "many" foundations couldn't even be put up in the first place, but such clichés overlook that.

    My Korean isn't good, but I get the sense that your version is actually saying that the higher education system is being made the foundation of Korea's.... which might well be the literal sense, but in my view takes the rhetoric more seriously than the English author intended, where I take the sense to be simply that that the HE system is seen as extremely important, without necessarily claiming that absolutely everything else in Korea's future really is going to be built upon it.
    With your comment in mind, I've put very important(주요한 usually with 공헌) in front ot contribution(공헌).

    한국 고등교육체제는 한국 미래의 토대를 다지는데 주요한 공헌을 한다고 여겨진다.

    Many thanks to you, 조그만.
     
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