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Korean Translation - An Ultimate Guide 2021

In this article, we will give some information on the Korean language and on professional Korean translation services with a special guest, JB Choi, a Korean Translator from MotaWord’s professional translator's cohort. With his help, we will have a closer look into this unique language.

After a short read, you will be able to brag about how much you know about:

You will also be able to find a translation agency to translate your favorite K-POP artist’s latest tweets! If you do not know what K-POP is, please check here and here :)

Is Korean Hard to Translate Into English?

Korean is spoken by about 77 million people, in South Korea, North Korea, and in the diaspora. Most linguists consider Korean to be a language isolate, which means that it is a natural language with no relations with any other language. So when it comes to the Korean language and translation, we can say that it requires a unique set of language skills to work in this field.

Is it hard to translate into English? Well, we already said in this previous article that it’s better to ask Koreans. And we did ask again to a professional Korean translator, JB Choi, what it takes to provide an accurate translation from Korean to English or Korean document translations. “it requires a lot of vocabulary and high skills to fully convey various expressions or subtle meanings'' although “translation to convey basic meanings is not difficult”. And sometimes, Korean to English translation might be impossible. Check out this article on 10 Korean words that have no English translation.

Is South Korean the same as North Korean?

South Korea and North Korea got separated after World War II when the Soviet Union occupied the north of Korea and the United States occupied the south of the country. This division later escalated into a Civil War with many countries involved and today’s borders were defined in a Convention in Geneva (where else?) in 1954. Since then, the two Koreas are different countries in terms of political ideology, which has direct effects on the language. “Daily conversations between the two Koreans are possible, but if you try to talk about a detailed topic, you can easily find a big difference.” says JB Choi on this topic. For example, when North Korea created Korean versions of all the new words, South Korea preferred to incorporate the foreign versions of them. The languages evolved separately in terms of vocabulary and pronunciation. Recently, efforts have been initiated by scholars and by governments of both countries to unify the Korean language by creating one dictionary, namely Gyeoremal-Keunsajeon.

Korean Human Translation vs. Machine Translation

Like in all languages, Machine Translation processes are getting better at a fast pace. But Neural Machine Translation engines have difficulties sorting out some basic issues in Korean machine translation tasks. According to JB Choi, “the spacing is often incorrect in machine-translated content. Also, in the case of words based on Chinese characters, many words with the same letter but different meanings may be mistranslated.”

As Korean machine translation is not optimal yet, so you will need to find a professional Korean translator for Korean to English translation jobs.

How to Find a Professional Korean Translator?

Some professional Korean translators are registered members of translator associations. You can get access to their member lists and try to find the right translator for your Korean translation job. You can also check professional translator marketplaces or specialized websites where professional translators might have profiles.

Although working directly with a professional Korean translator might be appealing, if you do not have an idea on who to hire, it may be best to trust a language service provider for a professional Korean translation service.

How Much Does a Korean Translator Make?

A professional Korean translator makes on average $30,000 in South Korea. This average is calculated on the pay in-house translators receive from various companies. The average hourly rate is around $15. In the United States, professional Korean translators can make up to $75,000 per year depending on their experience.

How to Save Time and Money in Korean Translation?

If you are a Korean translation company in search of Korean document translation services, here are some tips and tricks to save time and money while keeping your translation at the highest level of quality:

Prepare translation memories: Having a reliable TM is crucial if you want your end product to be consistent.
Consider collaborative translation approach: Collaborative translation, which revolutionized the translation industry since its inception, can save you a lot of time in your translation projects while maintaining the quality of your translation.
Ditch manual work, use APIs when available: API stands for Application Programming Interface and is used to automate most of the work done by humans. As with any automation process, integrating APIs into your workflows can save you lots of time in your professional Korean translation needs.

Certified Korean Translation

For translations that need to be presented in a formal application of some sort, it is highly likely that the translated document needs to be certified by its translator. Whether it is a Korean birth certificate translation or something like a Korean driver license translation, the certification process is pretty much the same. For any certified Korean translation, the certification should clearly show that the document is complete and correct and the translator is proficient in translating this document from or into Korean.

Why is Motaword the Ideal Translation Service for You?

MotaWord works with professional translators translating into their native language. Their work is monitored by smart algorithms and on every single project, the translator receives a score based on the edits made by the proofreader of the project. Using these scores and other QA mechanisms integrated into the translation workflow, MotaWord is able to understand which professional Korean translator performs best in which field.

JB Choi was kind enough to share the translator’s point of view on the MotaWord platform. He favors MotaWord’s efficiency when it comes to any type of project – whether it be a fast translation or a formal document. Thanks to his crucial proofreading role among the many Korean translation projects, consistency was kept constant even though projects were worked on by multiple translators.

How to Become a Korean Translator?

In South Korea, to become a professional translator, several universities offer professional translation and interpretation courses to have a bachelor’s or higher degree. It is also possible to become a certified Korean translator after passing an exam administered by the Translation Association and have a license to be able to translate official Korean documents.

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Published on Apr 13, 2021 by ALP KARDES

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