[Letters] Translation of Hallyu materials is urgent

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[Letters] Translation of Hallyu materials is urgent

In 1988, when the Seoul Olympic Games was held, two million foreign tourists visited Korea. This year, Korea expects 11 million tourists. There are many reasons for Korea’s increasing popularity as a tourist destination, but the Hallyu, or Korean Wave, is an undeniable factor attracting foreigners to Korea.

However, it is not easy to find programs and contents that allow visiting foreigners to experience the Korean Wave. Also, there is no effective translation and interpretation system to efficiently deliver Hallyu content. Therefore, Korea’s tourism content and resources do not accurately and effectively represent pop culture.

Search Google for “konglish signs,” and you will be able to see countless mistranslations all over Korea posted by foreign tourists. Singer Psy’s “Gangnam Style” has started a new form of Korean Wave, garnering more than 20 million YouTube views with its catchy tune and silly, but easy-to-follow dances. Still, most Hallyu tourism resources need to be translated into other languages, and providing quality translated material is not an easy task. The country aims to bring in 20 million tourists annually by 2020. When enhancing what is offered in Hallyu tourism, we need to constantly develop and offer attractive tour products and create an effective system to provide linguistic assistance.

An agency specializing in translation and the review of Hallyu tourism material should be created to meet the needs of foreign tourists and fans. As a marketing tool of Korean tourism, the agency could produce attractive Hallyu promotional materials to capture the attention of foreign tourists and provide them with guides. We need to reconsider the translation quality of Hallyu promotional publications, revise and standardize signs in other languages, train professional interpreters for Hallyu tourism and secure a pool of talented personnel. When the Korean Wave is translated into other languages properly, we will have more opportunities to develop tourism products with high value.

by Kim Chul-won, dean of the college of hotel and tourism management at Kyung Hee University.


* Letters and commentaries for publication should be addressed “Letters to the Editor.” E-mailed letters should be sent to eopinion@joongang.co.kr.

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