중앙데일리

Teens tackle temperature change with translation

Nov 05,2007
It took them three years, but three high school students have managed to publish their translation of an American earth science book.
The original book in English is “Is the Temperature Rising?: The Uncertain Science of Global Warming” by S. George Philander, a professor at Princeton University. The teenagers who undertook the task are seniors at Korean Minjok Leadership Academy in Gangwon: Kim Shin, Ban Chang-hyeon and Choi Eun-sol, all 18 years old.
The translation work began in April 2005 and was completed recently. The book is based on Philander’s lectures on climate, the ocean, astronomy and other natural science topics.
The students’ teacher, Kim Jeong-mu, 52, introduced them to the book.
“Just three years ago, there weren’t that many books dealing with global warming,” Kim Shin said. “We were having a debate about Philanders’s book, and one day we all thought, ‘Why don’t we translate it?’”
All three students are fluent in English and scored almost perfect on the Toefl, but translation was still a challenge.
Choi recalled, “Our classes did not cover El Nino and La Nina, so that part of the book was hard to understand.”
The students had to vote on different translations when conflicted about which was the best. Kim Shin said, “We used our 40-minutes break after lunch. We even gathered during vacations to do the job.”
Last year, when the trio went on a field trip to the United States, they visited Professor Philander. He immediately authorized the Korean publication of his book knowing that the translation was being done by young students.
Princeton University Press owns the book’s copyright, but Philander acquired the Korean copyright and signed the contract with the publishing company at their school.
In the preface of the Korean edition, Philander expressed appreciation for the “young scientists’ efforts.”
Their teacher, Kim Jeong-mu, and Kim Jun, a professor at Yonsei University, approved the text. The teacher said he intended to translate the book, “but the job done by the students turned out to be outstanding.”
The students plan to study abroad. Kim Shin is interested in economics, and Ban and Choi want to study environmental science.


By Kang Chan-soo JoongAng Ilbo [yhwang@joongang.co.kr]


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