Just a quick note today to convey a bit of news that some of my readers might be interested in. Last September, I got a phone call from a professor at the Hankuk University of Foreign Studies (HUFS) (Note: this link does not work in Firefox. Hmm). She knew me because we had both been awarded translation awards at the same ceremony in 2003. I was surprised to hear from her, given how long ago the ceremony was. She teaches in the Graduate School of Interpretation and Translation (in fact, I just found out that she became the dean this semester), and apparently they were thinking of starting up a new literary translation program. Somehow, this professor remembered me from the award ceremony and asked me if I would be interested in teaching there.
I told her I would think about it and get back to her. It was a weird time for me—I was still operating under the delusion that I was going to be finishing my dissertation by the end of the year, and I was very stressed out. When it became all too clear that the dissertation just wasn’t going to happen quite yet, I started thinking about the offer again. In truth, I waited too long to call her back. I will admit that I was unsure about teaching translation. On the one hand, I didn’t know if I was qualified to teach translation. On the other hand, I didn’t know if I wanted to teach in that field. These “reasons” seem silly now, of course. Stripped of all their rhetoric and justifications, they boil down to a fear of failure.
Fortunately for me, the offer was still on the table when I called, and the wheels were set in motion. Long story short, I got the official word yesterday that I will begin teaching at HUFS starting in March. I will be teaching six classes (but only three subjects, thankfully). I only have the subject names so far and don’t really know what each subject entails, but I will hopefully know more after a meeting next Tuesday. I was a bit disappointed to see no literary translation classes, but after thinking about it I realized that they probably didn’t have time to put together a program for this semester (my late call no doubt didn’t help matters). Truth be told, though, I have far more experience with technical and academic translation than I do with literary translation, so I’m pretty confident I will be able to handle the technical translation classes.
So it’s going to be a rather busy February for me. Not only do I have to prepare for these classes, but we also have to think about moving back into Seoul. The details of the move are still up in the air, so I can’t really say anything about that yet, but however things turn out it is going to be hectic. And there are other things that I have to get done, like the presentation I’m giving in April and the novel I’m translating for the Translation Institute. Oh, and there’s that tiny matter of my dissertation as well.
Not that I’m complaining. I’m very happy to have this job, and for the first time in my life I will have an actual salary. I will also be in on the ground floor of a new program, which I hope will be an exciting and rewarding experience. After all the studying and preparation I have done, it feels like I am finally taking a first step toward something bigger. There are still many more steps to be taken, of course, but it’s nice to be moving forward.