The Role of Korean Translators in Ensuring Effective Global Business Communication
Last Updated On: June 5, 2023 by The Migration Translators
South Korea is a modern, affluent, industrialized society. There is a huge Korean market with massive potential for continued growth in trade with the outside world. The major obstacle for Korean and foreign businesses is the fact that Koreans speak Korean, a language that is hard for non-Koreans to learn and understand, making effective business communication a significant hurdle. Korean is a unique language, not spoken by any other nation, and this means that Korean translators are extremely important in facilitating business communication.
There are around 46 million Korean speakers in South Korea and another 23 million in North Korea, as well as communities of Korean expatriate migrants who have made a home around the world. Most non-Koreans are familiar with well-known Korean brands, like Samsung, Kia, and Hyundai as well as Korean cultural icons, like K-Pop and K-dramas. However, there are many more Korean-based industries and businesses that are less well-known. This is the market for Korean translators to penetrate to allow the free flow of information and communication.
The unique challenges of Korean language translation for business communication
Korean as a language has no real linguistic analogs. Modern Korean has its origins in Manchuria as far as can be established. Chinese characters, hanja, were introduced in early Korean history but then replaced by their own type of written character called hangul.
There still exist regional variations in the Korean language, and there is a distinct regional difference, for example, between the Koreans of North Korea and South Korea.
These dialect differences and associated regional colloquialisms are less important for most business translations as standard Korean would be used by translators, but marketing translation does involve what is called localization techniques. Localization techniques are an extension of translation in that local nuances in language use are taken into consideration.
The fact that Korean is such a unique language presents challenges in business communication with just about every other language group, but it also presents opportunities for those who can offer Korean translation services.
The benefits of working with professional Korean translators
It is always advisable for businesses wishing to translate material into Korean or from Korean to engage professional Korean translators. The temptation to use Korean speakers who have no training in translation techniques should be avoided as should the use of amateur internet-based translation apps and software.
The importance of localization techniques for some business needs in translation has already been mentioned. Professional Korean translators with experience in localization techniques are the obvious first choice when it comes to this type of business translation to ensure it is effective.
Most professional translators end up specializing in a particular field of translation, such as legal, scientific, technical, business, or literary translation and this is true for the Korean translation industry as well. Specialization ensures that the specific terminology used in that field is learned, so that is why it is important to be careful when choosing the best professional Korean translators to make sure that you have chosen translators who are familiar with the sort of business needs in translation that you have.
As far as Internet translation technology is concerned, it is doubly important that this is not used in serious business communication with Korean firms. Most Korean firms and government officials would probably be offended if this sort of technology was used as a cheap substitute for using genuine professional Korean translators, as the technology has not yet advanced to become as accurate as that of human translators. In fact, an inaccurate or poor translation could lead to miscommunication, delays, delayed contracts, and lost opportunities.
Modern Korea, or more specifically South Korea, is already a highly important market for businesses worldwide. Because Korean as a language is not easily learned and is relatively little spoken outside Korea, there is an increasing demand for professional Korean translators who have particular expertise in business translation.