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About ALM and Korean translations

We have been providing Korean translations since our company was founded in 2002. ALM’s two founders have a long history in the industry. All translation companies aim to offer high quality translations, but we have found that employing our own in-house linguists has been an important factor in our success. Not only do we employ a full-time Korean-English linguist, her expertise has also allowed us to set quality standards in this language combination (and vice versa). We also work with highly qualified external translators and are confident that we can pick out the best because they are quality-checked, rated and monitored by our own linguist.

Korean – the language

Korean is spoken by around 72 million people and is said to be one of the most difficult languages for English speakers to learn due to the word order, its complex honorific system, case clitics (commonly known as “particles” and agglutinative word endings.

Closest to Japanese in terms of grammar, it in fact belongs to the Altaic language family, which means it’s related to Turkish, Mongolian and Manchu in China.

Having seen our Korean linguist at work, the language is very difficult to translate because of the linguistic style and the fact that Korean is context-based and so can often be open to interpretation. Translated literally, it can make very little sense to a non-Korean speaker, which makes it difficult to decipher. Hence, there is a lack of native-English speaking Korean translators.

Cultural aspects

Upon meeting a Korean for the first time, they will most likely ask you your age as well as your marital status. Although this is considered rude in Western countries, it is important for Koreans so that they know which verb endings, nouns and particles to use when speaking to you.

Most Koreans learn American English and so any foreign brands that have been written in the Korean alphabet (called “hangul”) are written with American English vowels. For example, McDonalds is written as “mekdonalds” to mimic the American “A” sound. This sometimes makes it difficult for British English speakers to work out what the brand is.

Koreans refer to South Korea as “our country” rather than just “Korea”. This is a reflection of the Neo-Confucian philosophy that was the state ideology during the Choseon Dynasty (1392-1897). It creates a feeling that South Korea is “one family” and “one people”.

When meeting Koreans in person, it is polite to bow to elders and to new acquaintances. Hugging and kissing is a no-no.

It’s common for men to shake hands upon meeting but don’t expect a good firm handshake as with some other cultures. It’s more of a long, limp affair.

The honorifics system

Korean’s honorifics system is complex, and uses different verb endings and even vocabulary, depending on who you are speaking to in terms of their age as well as cultural standing and seniority in the workplace.

Key industries

South Korean industry is dominated by its electronics industry, being the world’s biggest producer of semiconductors. Other major industry sectors include automotive, shipbuilding, agriculture and cosmetics.

ALM Translations’ Korean expertise will ensure that your translations are accurate and that information you are providing to your customers will be clear and understood. We also work on patents, marketing and web page translations, ideal if you are looking to sell products and services to your Korean clients or to do business with companies in Korea.

Other recent projects have included translation of large batches of customer feedback and questionnaires and translation of legal contracts and commercial documents.

We don’t just translate, we also offer ad hoc and conference interpreting, videos and voice-overs, transcription services, subtitling, telephone interpreting, telemarketing, proofreading, editing and transcreation.

Contact us now to find out how we can help you engage with your customers and grow your business in a global market.



Detailed Quotation

Please contact us to discuss your requirements

"I’ve reviewed the two documents and first off, I have to say that the translation was really well done - in the past I’ve seen stuff that would give a high score in Scrabble"

Legrand Canada – Marketing dept.

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