Things Korean interpreters need to know when communicating with Korean people

Today Korean interpreting is a popular job with relatively good pay in translation field. There are about 80 million Korean speakers in the world. This big number shows how much Korea is stretching out to the world

Working with foreigners, cultural and language differences are biggest obstacles that make or break the deals. Korea is a country of long history where culture and politeness are of great importance. Therefore, when Korean interpreters understand cultural beauty of this country, it is much easier to win the partner’s friendliness and trust during the negotiation. The following things are what Korean interpreters should be aware of when working with Korean people.

Punctuality: There is no excuse for being late. Arriving 15 minutes early and staying 15 minutes longer are highly appreciated by Korean people as this shows thirst for progress and hard work.

Politeness: Korean people are known for their focus on politeness. It is understandable when Korean interpreters are cautious saying hello and goodbye and using honorific expressions as this help win people’s friendliness.

Honesty: Honesty is a virtue of Korean people. There is no excuse for lies. No explanations, no responses, just admit mistakes and keep silent.

No personal errands at work: During the work, calls, facetime calls, receiving guests, going out, etc. are taboos for Korean people.

Make-up at work: Make-up here does not mean “flamboyant” or too eye-catching. It is simply neat hairstyle and courteous dress code. Korean people attach great importance to polite appearance.

Insight into Korean culture: There are many cases when Korean culture will be mentioned, especially in escort interpretations in Vietnamese-Korean cultural exchange events.

Necessary distance: Do not stay too close or too far. Interpreters should show goodwill intent, not boastful, arrogant nor humble, humiliated. Korean people are emotional so Korean interpreters who are friendly and cautious are the most appreciated.

The notes above apply not only to Korean interpreters but also to those who work with Korean people. Knowledge and understanding of Korean culture will facilitate your work and negotiation.

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