Looking for Korean print translators

I originally posted this idea to viki.com admin, but they said they wouldn’t do it and that I should do it instead. They gave me clearance to do it.

I want to build a website for print translation–so books, poems, short stories, manga and manhwa (last two eventually). If anyone is proficient at print translation and would like to be head moderator/translator, let me know.

It will work a lot like viki.com, but instead of building your listening skills, you’d be building up your reading comprehension skills. Learn how to read Hangeul, Japanese and other languages. (It will also fix your pronunciation in the long run, I think).

I would like to eventually do tie ins with viki.com’s dramas and also do books such as Coffee Prince, Personal Preference, etc and buy the rights for it. Books that won’t get imported, despite their popularity because publishers prefer the stereotypes.

The first project I’d like to try, if not too tricky is “Hong Gil Dong” which has several references and several movies/dramas made out it. It’s basically a Korean version of Robin Hood. If not, then the upcoming Mother and Child by Kang Kyeong Ae, who looks like an awesome woman by all accounts. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Kang_Kyeong-ae

However, I need translators who are willing to work on the project–spot translate, check for consistency, etc.

With some luck and tapping my connections, I might be able to contact the literature societies of Korea…

Anyone interested in translating books? If so, PM me. If I’m not clear, let me know. I have a longer write up.

I do have a programmer for the website. But to get the Indiegogo for the project going, I need all my ducks in a row.



That actually sounds pretty cool. I recently had the idea pop into my head that I should try to translate a novel… And so I picked one out and I realized how inferior my Chinese truly is. That project can sit on a shelf for awhile, ha.

I’d be so interested in helping out, but unfortunately, I read zero Korean and/or Japanese. But if anything more comes up from this, let me know. I’d love to check it out!

I really like the sound of the manga/manhwa stuff. I know there are fans that do translate some of that stuff but mostly to English? Or is it just that I only properly know English?

That said, I wonder if your plan is to do a similar thing that Viki does, with translating to some tens of languages? And are you considering just working on one project, or (given there were enough translators / interested parties), would you want to have multiple books in translation? Ooh, the more I think about it, the more interesting it sounds! Obviously, some of this stuff will be farther off in the future, but just wondering what your vision of it all is.

Thank you for responding.
If you don’t read Korean or Japanese, then I’ll take editors (in whatever languages), moderators, etc. You can learn by proxy, I think. Each sentence will be translated as a whole, like on Viki.com, but partial translations are also possible. Are you interested in editing or moderating once the website is set up?

I read Korean (Hangeul is easy to look up), and can do loose translations, but not anything definitive. I’ll probably post a hangeul chart when I get the chance.

I’d like to eventually be able to run multiple projects on the website, but to get the licensed work and to do that, I have to demonstrate it works first (and work out the bugs of translating a book this way), and then I can ask the publishers for deals, etc. Which means working with only one printed work first, showing how it works, and then getting publishers interested. Then if the model works, it can branch out.

Editors, Quality checkers, moderators, etc don’t need to know Korean. Same/similar structure as viki, only oriented towards print rather than video. Spot translators and Translators would have to know Korean.

I’d like to also orient it towards translating into other languages than English, with a site preference towards direct translation rather than English (not required, but heavily preferred.)

Korean to English translators are the easiest for me to try to find, unless someone has a long sought after book they wish was in English, but isn’t, and is in public domain. I’m open to building a works list. (I have one German book and one book that’s from Latin America and NOT Magic realism (It’s horror) that’s on my list.)

Oh and people who work on the website will not get ads and the book they work on will be free to download… when we get there.

Oh sure, I could help out with some editing or QC.
For me, learning with text is way easier than just having to listen to something. Korean is…er, alphabet-based, right? Doesn’t sound that hard to grasp, I’m thinking?

Yeah, that all makes sense.

Sorry if I’m misunderstanding. But you mean like, translating directly from Korean to so-and-so language versus from Korean to English to another language?

It hadn’t even crossed my mind at the time, but translating things other than Korean sounds great too. I seriously would want to see what becomes of this.

Books were my love before drama-land came and stole me away… Maybe this will be incentive to read more again, haha.

By the way, have you found interested parties to translate?

I’m still sourcing translators. If you know anyone also interested, you can point them in my direction. They don’t have to be proficient, just interested in translating and trying out their skills. I kinda want to demonstrate through someone correcting the translations, etc, one can learn a language and usually translators have weaknesses in different areas… so a group of people can cover people’s backs.

Same as Viki.com. You don’t have to be an expert and fluent, but just have an interest in trying it out.

I’m going to try to source some students as well, though for some reason professors have this thing where you say you don’t go to the college and they aren’t interested. But if you know someone who might, I’d be interested in talking to them. =P I need a crowd to make it crowd sourcing. I have other people interested in seeing the site as well. Especially with the tie-ins.

About your question… Yup, direct translation from original text to source language will be preferred. So if the source text is in Korean it’ll be Korean to say… English. Rather than Korean, English then translated into Spanish. It’s not that I’m against the double translation, but there are subtleties in languages which don’t translate well from one language to another that I’d prefer, in general, to be picked up upon. Because sometimes there is a better word with direct translation that you will find versus double translation.

A little vague so I’ll demonstrate. Kokoro こころ and 마음 have similar usages and meanings in Japanese and Korean, but if you direct translate to English, you might get “heart” “Feelings” or “thoughts.” in which case Korean–>English–>Japanese might corrupt the original meaning and context versus the direct translation. “Kibun” is also feelings, but it doesn’t mean the same as Kokoro. By translating it to English, the better word was lost along the way. Also cultures often will have similarities in certain types of words. Korean–>Tagalog, Eonni and Ate have similar usages. English doesn’t have it.

Doesn’t mean I’ll ban second hand translation, just try to recommend strongly that direct translation is better when possible. I hope that’s clearer.

Anyway, any books from around the world that you know are classic literature or books that you know won’t get translated because they are outside of the stereotype, I’m interested in. Anyone that wants to help in any level, I’m interested in too. Once I have people who are willing to help translate a book, then I can get the funding to pay the patient and waiting programmer, who said she could do it in a month… and then I can show the model works. Once I can show the model works, then I can hit up Korean publishers for their books and try to make some licensing deals. Once I get drama tie in books, I’m sincerely hoping that the site will have a steady following with people trying to learn and reading the books. (General short term plan.)

Still looking for a main translator. I can try to source one if no one appears here.

Discussion board here isn’t all that representative of Viki’s members, I think. Maybe try checking out some of popular K drama channels and message the subbers about it? There’s bound to be someone interested.

Well, I’d be interested in giving it a try.
I’m not fluent in Korean yet(since you’ve only really been talking about Korean) but I can read and write it at the moment(so to me it would really be about learning as I translate it xD). I studied Japanese for a long time but I’m afraid I’m too rusty to try written translation… (X_@)
I’m a native speaker of English and of French and I could translate from Spanish without a problem.
That’s about it :3

Thank you very much for replying. I’m interested in translating the world’s books. So I’m interested in both translators/translation team and books in all languages–especially books that aren’t imported, but considered part of the core Literature and those related to dramas/(were adapted)/aren’t part of the stereotype of that country to the target country.

Any help you can give is appreciated. =D

i can read and write in korean and since my dominant language is english i can be a very proficient editor as well (:

Thank you very much for replying. How would you rate your translating skills in Korean? So I can know if you’d be a spot translator or a main translator? I’m also interested in Q/Cs.


I have a name for the website: Polyglit.com Polyglot+lit(erature) stuck together. A main translator and finding the text/typing it and we might be able to start sometime next year.

I bought Hong Gil Dong, which also included in the book Jeon Woochi and Im Jin Rok (both public domain). Hong Gil Dong is 25 pages in Korean, which means it’s longer in English. But that’s not too bad. Still hunting for a main translator. I’m sourcing other people too.

The language in Hong Gil Dong isn’t too bad to understand.

Your project sounds pretty interesting and I’d love to help, but unfortunately I can only translate from English to German and vice versa.

Wow i think this project would really be a great one i would love to help…
I am a beginner in Korean (basically i can read and write and understand a bit), and i think this would improve my Korean skills so i am totally interested!!
I am also fluent in Arabic (native) as well as English and French (also i will be taking intensive chinese courses as of next semester) so i guess it can help …

But i have something i didn’t quite get…
You want to translate a book into English therefore searching for kor-eng translators or just as Viki does… translate to many languages but you prefer that the person translating (into whatever language) have some knownledge in the original language of the book so the true meaning of the original language doesn’t get ruined ??

That’s how I’ve understood it. Obviously, translations are best from the original language to another, without an intermediary. I wouldn’t say the translation is “ruined,” but the more times you translate something, it will start to lose some of the original/intended meaning. Sort of like the telephone game; the end usually ends up a bit different from the start.

But I feel like most people know English and one or two other languages… So I don’t know if translating will end up like that.

Just out of curiosity, since I’ve heard of both Hong Gil Dong and Jeon Woochi (thanks to their respective dramas), who’s Im Jin Rok?

hahah yeahh i know things can get pretty messed up with “telephone games” i’ve seen disasters like that …

Anyways, let’s just wait and see… i have a feeling this site could be a great idea…

Hi, I’m interested in taking part in this project. I’m full Korean, speak Korean at home with my parents, and have also attended a Saturday school where I learned Korean literature and history. I would be quite comfortable with translating Korean to English, although I may spend a bit of time searching for the most accurate translations for vocabulary present in ancient texts. Also, since I’m currently in college and juggling my time around, I may not be present 24/7.

To be clear: The website, in the future, will include all the languages we can in the world. I want to include books from around the world.

The pilot project–since this sort of thing hasn’t been done before, the first project has to be simple. This will help the website programmer to work out bugs. For me to supervise since I know some Korean to English and also work with the programmer ton GUI and User Experience–my personal field of expertise. Since this has not been done before, user experience bugs are probably inevitable, so it’s easier to manage by only doing one language to another first.

So for JUST this first project it’s Korean to English.

After that, I’m going to try to encourage primary language to target language translation, if possible, though this won’t be a rule. This is because we’re working with text and direct translation with text is often better than double translation for a variety of reasons. Socio-linguistic reasons, mainly.

But yeah, first project: Hong Gil Dong Jeon, 25 pages, Korean to English. Well-known text and blessed because it’s short and well-known to both drama fans and to Universities. Robin Hood Korean, style and well-known for being the first Hangeul text.

THEN other languages will be slowly included. I have my eye on a ton of books I want to read, some German to English, some Spanish to English, some (well a lot) Japanese to English) Korean to English and I’m tracking down Chinese classics too. And of course classics to other languages than English. If there is a team to translate a French classic only to German, I’m not against that. Also modern books that don’t fit the stereotypes as seen from outside countries.

We’ll be limited for a while on literature material since I want to not break copyright law (i.e. only use public domain), but I think it would be awesome to get to that level of several projects with several languages on the to and from list.

Not quite sure what Im Jin Rok is about, but I’m willing to find out since it’s so short.

Anyway, more the merrier, and the more likely it will be correct. Website landing page should be up soon. Then I’ll announce the kickstarter to start the website and let viki admin know, 'cause I want to do drama tie in books too. Once we have all that locked in, I’ll gather people to donate to the project to pay the programmer her money and get the website hosting.

Start small, fewer bugs to work out, get larger, more projects, and then do the other levels I have planned for the website.

@Dongbangb2uty Would you be comfortable in a main translator role? Maybe with another main translator to share the burden?

@MrsDearTV I do have a project I have an eye on from German to English–actually a few. I saw them mentioned on Korean television, so I’ve been frustrated because I can’t read them (One was on a Running Man episode where they went to the Great Wall of China and the other was a drama based on a German book, but I wasn’t aware of that type of book in Germany–which means there are more.) One isn’t public domain yet… but yeah, you could probably do that when we get to adding the other languages.

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