Critical Language Scholarship Program | Translating Comics for Health…

Translating Comics for Health Education

By Jason Parad (Wonju, Korea ’13)

As a participant in the 2013 CLS Program in South Korea, I had the privilege of meeting Dr. Jongwook Kim, one of the most esteemed physicians in Wonju City.

Dr. Kim was also my CLS host father, and during our time together, I learned about his vision for improving health in Korea. Dr. Kim aspired to design a series of comics that would educate the public about the strategies for preventing and the options for treating medical infirmity.

When Dr. Kim presented me with some illustrated drafts, I was immediately interested in working with him on this project. As the founder of The Condom Pledge campaign and an avid learner of the Korean language, I was intrigued not only by the comics’ insightful educational messages but also by their embedded literary humor.

With support from a 2013 CLS Alumni Development Fund award, I was able to extend Dr. Kim’s vision by translating a first set of these comics on ophthalmological issues from Korean into English. The translations, which will later incorporate topics in mental health and infectious disease, will be published in print and online at Currently, it is possible to view the comics in Korean on the website; the English translations will be added this summer.

My hope in continuing with this project is to increase the accessibility of effective health communications around the globe – not only by making Dr. Kim’s wisdom available to English speakers but also by facilitating its translation into other languages. As I look toward a career in global medicine, I am thankful to CLS for this early professional opportunity to enhance cross-cultural collaboration between Korea and the U.S.

In addition to the CLS award, Jason Parad has been the recipient of numerous awards for Korean studies, including the Blakemore Freeman Fellowship for Advanced Asian Language Study, the Foreign Language and Area Studies Fellowship from the U.S. Department of Education, the James Joo-Jin Kim Graduate Research Grant from the University of Pennsylvania, and the South Korea Scholarship from the Korea Foundation.