By Hilary Picken | February 26, 2019 | Languages
As well as holding a degree in translation, all of our Korean translators are native speakers. We also require them to have worked for five years in translating, and we recruit those who specialise in the minutiae of their chosen subject area.
When you come to The Language Factory with an important document, such as a survey, PR article or medical documentation, you can rest assured that every part of it will be correctly translated without loss of meaning or ambiguity.
The Korean language is written in vertical columns rather than the horizontal rows of English.
Korean has its own alphabet, called Hangul. Prior to the introduction of Hangul, written Korean used Hanja, a system of lettering based on Chinese ideograms, so it is easy to mistake Korean writing for an ideogrammatic or pictorial language, especially as some Hanja are still combined with Hangul in South Korea. However, the language is arguably closer in written structure to European languages like English.
Unlike Chinese and Japanese script, written Korean does include spaces.
North and South Korea share their language, but the dialects of each country are substantially different, to the point that a document correctly written for one may seem ungrammatical and badly spelt to the other.
While Hangul is simple to learn, mastering Korean as a language is considered one of the more difficult linguistic feats possible. For this reason, a native speaker of Korean is a must when dealing with matters of translation.
While it was long assumed to be part of a neighbouring language group, and it certainly bears some similarities, Korean has in fact been proven to be a language isolate – like the Basque language in Spain, it is a rare example of a language which cannot be charted as part of a language family. There is a school of thought which links it to various extinct languages in the area as a ‘pure’ continuation, but there is as yet no proof.
South Korean may also be called Hangungmal, and the dialect spoken in North Korea is also known as Chosŏnmal.
The Korean diaspora has spread native speakers over much of the Earth, but relative numbers are such that fluency is not being retained by younger generations outside Korea.
Over the twentieth century and beyond, many English words have been adopted into the Korean vocabulary, though they often use the words they borrow surprisingly differently. For example, a ‘sharp’ refers to a mechanical pencil, and a misuse of the English word ‘fighting’ (‘paiting’) would be used to encourage someone the way we say “Come on!”
Korean language television and music is on the rise in popularity worldwide; the so-called ‘Korean wave’ has led to many enjoying media in Korean, and there is evidence to suggest that as far afield as the United States this popularity is encouraging many to study the language more seriously.
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