Korean TV dramas, movies, music, beauty products and fashion have experienced new popularity in the Western world in recent years, which also increased the demand for Korean translation. Moreover, the popularity also heightened the interest in Hangugeo or Korean language.
Right now over 10,000 people are learning the Korean language at the King Sejong language institutes in different countries. Due to the increasing demand, the Korean government opened 16 more Korean language-learning institutes in 13 other counties. The government aims to spread the Korean language and Korean heritage to many parts of the globe. Because of this renewed interest in the Korean language, the language services providers (LSPs) are in an opportune position to use their skills and help improve the future global relations of South Korea with Western countries through Korean translation services.
Opening of new opportunities
Several companies from South Korea are entering the global arena, opening up many opportunities, including new job openings that would benefit the local residents. At the end of 2016, nearly 12,000 companies from South Korea have established their presence overseas. These companies gave jobs to 3.8 million workers from Vietnam and China. These foreign workers were required to pass the Test of Proficiency in Korean (TOPIK). Sitting for the TOPIK is a prerequisite so they can understand the Korean culture better as well as improve their chances of getting a good job.
LSPs are set to benefit from this as well because of the increased need for language services as Korean translation requests from and into the language are now integral to the international business relations of South Korean companies.
Improving political communication
The European Union is one of the supporters of peaceful North and South Korean reunification. Translation of documents into the Korean language has been essential to the EU’s initiative to make political communication truly efficient. The EU requires reliable translation to reduce the tension between the two Koreas to promote open communication. Since 1998, the EU has mediated more than 14 political communications between the two Koreas. Professional translators had a significant and vital role in keeping the negotiations go smoothly and in maintaining mutual understanding.
Huge growth in the software and IT sectors
Language services providers will be very useful in helping the trade negotiations between South Korea and the West. The IT industry in South Korea is experiencing massive growth, which is beneficial in creating various opportunities for the trade and export sector.
South Korea ranks second in the ICT Development Index for 2017, after ranking first in 2016. It was overtaken by Iceland last year although the difference is just 0.13 percentage points. Nevertheless, it is very significant because the growth of South Korea’s ICT industry means that more companies from the West will be willing to negotiate with them. This also means that there will be more opportunities for translators and interpreters to make use of their skills to help companies and individuals during trade negotiations.
Growth of the culture and tourism sectors
The South Korean government is making use of renewed interest in Hallyu or the Korean wave from many parts of the world. It now focuses on establishing a culture that inspires growth and change by enlarging its market reach globally. The government is also encouraging competition and equal opportunities. It provides resources for people who cannot speak Korean by promoting its language because it is the best way to understand and experience Korean culture and heritage. The concerted efforts are paying off as tourism in recent years has increased significantly, resulting in the continuous demand not only for translation but also for interpreting services.
The continuing growth of this sector provides many opportunities for professional and experienced linguists to help promote the language while boosting the economic and cultural impact of Hangugeo. The expertise and knowledge of highly skilled translators around the world who are proficient in the Korean language help in forging business deals and amicable interactions.
Because of the difficulty in learning the Korean language, business owners should collaborate with professional language services providers whom they could trust to ensure the proper dissemination of their official communication and their marketing, advertising and sales campaigns.
Korean translation for the local market
Korean is a language isolate, and most of its speakers are located within the Korean Peninsula. Right now, more than 77.2 million speakers of the Korean language are located within the peninsula, in its neighboring countries and in several locations where Korean diasporas exist. In the past, South Korea closeted itself, but in the past few years, it has opened its doors to the world. South Korean products and services became widely available. South Korea is an exporting country. Likewise, it imports various products for its domestic markets, which prompted different companies to localize to target South Korean industries, buyers and consumers.
Korea’s national and official language is Korean. Two varieties of the Korean language are used in the Korean Peninsula. The variety used in North Korea is essentially the same as the version of the language used in South Korea. But the one spoken in North Korea is more traditional and has slight variations with the Seoul dialect. North Koreans call the dialect they speak as Chosŏnmal while the South Koreans call their version Hangugeo. The language is considered a member of the Paleosiberian languages, not exactly a language family but a group of languages that are considered ancient.
On the other hand, the Seoul dialect or the Gyeonggi dialect is considered the prestige dialect and forms the base of the standard Korean dialect used all over South Korea except for Jeju Island, which has its own dialect.
Professional translators are aware of the differences between the dialect used in North Korea and South Korea; therefore see to it that you specify which dialect you require when you want to localize your website and your written content.
Although it is already a given that they know the nuances of each dialect, there are still several aspects that should be looked into regarding the Korean language. These aspects are what makes Korean a difficult language to study especially for English speakers. Its syntax is SOV while English speakers are used to the SVO syntax.
Levels of formality
The type of target audience is one thing that should be defined very early in the Korean translation or the localization process because seven levels of formality are inherent in the language. For translators, this area is very important for them to use the proper level of formality to implement. It’s a cultural requirement that should be strictly followed as Koreans take this seriously.
It should be noted that the level of formality has slight differences in the written and spoken form. It is more common to see just two levels of formality for written content, but this could be a problem when the content is turned into an audio content or a video script.
Writing content for localization in the Korean market should be done carefully. Since you have to deal with the levels of formality, the safest approach is to use the highest level of formality when the target audience is not specified.
Space allowance for localized content
Space is also one of the aspects that should be carefully considered when localizing for the Korean market. It is important to allow more space for written content. Even if you use long sentences in English, they would be longer when translated into Korean. This should be considered as it can affect the content’s general layout and format, which is particularly essential when you are talking about advertising layout for newspapers or magazines. The length of text when localizing websites can also affect the design of a website. A client will benefit from the experience and knowledge of a localization expert as the person can provide guidelines and tips to adequately prepare for Korean localization, including the issue with space.
Be careful of loanwords
In the past, many of the loanwords in the Korean languages came from the Chinese language as China has a significant influence in Korea for thousands of years. However, in modern Korean language, it is more common to see many English words particularly if the subject pertains to mechanical engineering, IT, sports, medicine and fashion. Surprisingly, these loanwords are never translated into Korean and are used as is. This is one aspect to consider. During localization or translation, the linguist should be careful not to translate these loanwords into Korean because the clients would think that the translation is not authentic and accurate.
More English words are populating the Korean vocabulary. Most of them are not translated but are instead transliterated. South Korea is already a mature market for localization and translation. The population in South Korea is already used to being served up in Korean thus their expectation for quality is quite high. Korean translation services allow you to access more than 2.3% of the online purchasing power in the world.
While you may have difficulty learning the Korean language, the human translators of Day Translations, Inc. will be happy to serve all your Korean translations needs. It is important to be very accurate when translating into Korean because of the many aspects of the language that are not present in other languages. Our native-speaking translators are located in-country, so they fully understand the nuances and intricacies of the Korean language. Whether you want to localize your website or have documents translated from and into Korean, our translators are always ready to serve. We are open 24/7 throughout the year, so you can easily get in touch with us through 1-800-969-6853. You can also send us an email at Contact us any time of the day at your convenience.
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