The Complete Guide to Korean Translation Service (2023)


This guide will help you find the right Korean translation service for your needs.

It covers:

  • what to expect
  • how to get good translation on a budget
  • and more!

I’ve been running a translation business since 2013.

Here’s what I’ve found!

What to Expect from Korean Translation Service

English and Korean are night and day.

As you can imagine, it’s one of the hardest language pairs to translate.

Don’t worry though, Korean translation can be simple. Here are three ways to get translation according to your needs:

1. Personal Use

Individuals for images, shopping websites, webtoons, signs and menus while traveling

  • Quality: the overall meaning with potential errors
  • Delivery: Immediate

Use Papago or Google Translate

2. Professional Use

Startups and new business for internal communication, social media posts, user reviews, emails and letters

  • Quality: human translation without QC
  • Delivery: At least a day

Use Fiverr

3. Advanced Use

Established companies for presentations, legal documents, reports, mobile apps and website localization

  • Quality: human translation usually with QC like proofreading and review
  • Delivery: Longer than a day

Use a reputable company specialized in the language pair you need

The problem is most translation companies claim to be the best at every language pair.

They all have a different procedure and price too.

After a decade of being both clients and service providers, we’ve seen that Korean and English translation is where most fall short.

Here’s what we’ve discovered!

Definitions

  • Source language: the original language of a file
  • Target language: the language to be translated into
  • Characters: spaces, letters, numbers and punctuation
  • Character count: number of characters
  • Words: written combination of characters representing meaning
  • Word count: number of words
  • Sentence: combination of words that comprise a statement or question
  • Page: number of words or characters that comprise one page, usually 250 words or 700 characters
  • Page count: number of pages based on word or character counts
  • Translation software: any program designed to speed up or make the translation process more efficient
  • Exact match: a sentence that is a 100% match with a previous one
  • Fuzzy match: a sentence that is a less than 100% match with a previous one
  • Terminology: a list of words that are used in a field or study
  • Reference: a file in both source and target languages created to guide a translator

Why is it hard to find a good Korean translation company?

Translation is estimated to be a 50 billion dollar industry in 2020.

There are thousands of translation companies in the world.

Most tackle every language under the sun.

Like going to a restaurant with a 10 page menu, they do everything, but nothing well.

That’s because they don’t specialize in one language pair and outsource to the lowest bidder. This makes sense given their high fixed costs, including office space, employees and advertising.

The end result is average translation at a high price.

How to find a good Korean translation company?

It helps to avoid companies with generic names.

Anything with “trans” in the name is probably not a good bet. Your project will most likely be outsourced.

Avoid companies that have hundreds of employees and multiple offices.

This just means they need to charge a premium to make payroll and keep the lights on.

Also, having a legal and marketing team has no effect on translation quality.

It’s also a good idea to find one that specializes in Korean language pairs.

Look for a company owned and operated by a Korean and English speaker.

One with documents that are checked in-house by the stakeholders.

When in doubt, shop around and compare quality.

Where can I find a good Korean translation company?

Online is a good place to start.

Google will return millions of results, but most aren’t focused on Korean translation.

High ad budgets don’t equal good translation.

Companies spend a lot of money to be the top search result, which you’ll end up paying for.

There’s also no guarantee you’ll get better quality since it’s up to the translator they choose.

Where can I find Korean translation on a Budget?

Fiverr offers services a level above machine translation for a reasonable price. It’s a great option when you need something decent right away.

A word of warning, the Fiverr community tends to leave positive reviews, probably because the services are inexpensive. It’s a good idea to look at the negative reviews and see if they’re valid.

How do I find a good Fiverr gig for Korean translation?

Look for native speakers in the target language. For example, if you have English text that needs to be translated into Korean, find someone who was born and raised in South Korea. There are exceptions to this rule, so you’ll have to experiment.

Check “About this Gig” and “About this Seller” for typos and grammar mistakes. If you’re translating into Korean, then you can be more forgiving about awkward wording in English.

Scroll to the “Reviews” near the bottom.

fiverr reviews

Click “Sort By” in the upper right-hand corner of the container. Choose “Most recent” and check the next five to ten reviews. People can improve or burn out. This will give you an idea of how well they’ve been translating recently.

fiverr reviews_recent_highlight

Click the “1 Star” reviews and look for any red flags.

fiverr reviews_one_star

For extra-sensitive documents, consider using a proofreader.

How much does a Korean translation company charge?

If you contact ten companies, you’ll get 10 different prices.

Korean translation companies charge by the page.

Pages are determined by word count.

For English to Korean, 250 words equals 1 page.

For Korean to English, 700 characters is 1 page.

The price range is 20-100 USD for a 250 word page.

A better question would be, “how much should you pay a Korean translation company per page?

30-70 USD for a page is a reasonable range.

With technical translation such as legal and medical documents being at the higher end.

If you’re spending less, then you’re most likely getting machine translation.

Any more, and you’re paying for the CEO’s vacation home.

Why are pages calculated this way?

Font size and formatting can be changed to manipulate how many words are on a page.

By counting the actual number of words or characters, you can get a standard amount of content on a page.

Why should you use a Korean translation company?

I know what you’re thinking. “Why should I pay that amount when I can get a freelancer on Fiverr for half the price?”

If you can afford to have errors in your translation, then you’d be correct.

However, if you need professionally translated documents with no errors, then a company is what you’re looking for.

Other advantages are:

  • Peace of mind. Most companies provide some sort of quality control. This can include proofreading, review, grammar check, etc.
  • Accurate files. A reputable company will have a project manager checking files to make sure nothing is left out.
  • On time delivery. Having worked with freelancers, I can tell you that getting files on-time is not always a given. Translation companies often have guarantees for timely delivery.

How to save money with a Korean Translation company 

Before sending a document, take a moment to look it over carefully and see what needs to be translated.

In our experience, there are often redundant sections and non-vital sentences.

You can reduce your translation costs by a large percentage this way.

Ask your project manager to remove numbers and symbols from the word count.

save money on translation

Ask for a discount on duplicate sentences.

Translation agencies use translation software to count repetitions in a file.

You can avoid paying twice for the same work.

Don’t be afraid to check for volume discounts on large files.

Most Korean translation companies will subtract 5 to 10 percent on files over 1,000 USD.

The bigger the file, the less cost per page in terms of admin.

What to do before contacting a Korean translation company

Check their company website to see their procedure.

Reputable translation companies will make this easy to find in plain language.

Ask them to clarify how they manage projects if needed.

Make sure they have both a proofreader and an internal review system.

This will increase the chance that you won’t need to retranslate their files.

Even after all this, it’s a good idea to have critical documents reviewed independently before showing them to customers.

How should I contact a Korean translation company?

The best way is to send an email directly or through a contact form.

It’s nice to talk on the phone sometimes, but ultimately the document is what matters.

For the fastest results, send your file so you can receive a quote.

How to work with a Korean translation company

The more you put in, the more you get out.

It’s a good idea to provide a terminology list and ask your project manager to keep it updated.

This is your insurance in case you have to switch companies at some point.

It will keep terms consistent in translated documents.

Make sure to ask for revisions if they’re required.

Also, send them any revisions you make, even if they’re simple.

This will help them understand your needs and save you both work in the long-run.

How to save time and money on revisions

There are many ways to translate a sentence.

It’s impossible for a project manager to know which style suits you.

You can help out by providing a reference.

A reference file includes the original text and the translation side by side.

This lets translators know what kind of tone you prefer.

If you don’t have a reference, be sure to explain who the translation is intended for.

The more details you provide, the better your results.

save time on translation

How long does Korean translation take?

It can be easy to forget about the translation step in your document creation process.

With all the technological advances in machine translation, you might think it only takes a few hours to crank out quality work.

We may have been promised flying cars by now, but usable translation still requires a lot of human labor, which takes time.

Try not to request deadlines that are too tight.

An experienced translator can do between 1,500 to 2,500 words per day.

Any more and they might be tempted to split the file with another translator, leaving you with a bunch of sentences that lack continuity.

You also need to provide time for proofreading and review, otherwise you’ll end up doing it.

5 pages (around 1,250 words) take at least 48 hours to translate and polish.

How to get consistent quality from a Korean translation company

Great results don’t happen overnight.

It takes a few files for even the best translators to find the right word choices.

Good ones will always improve their quality.

After 10 years we still find ways to make our translation more accurate and easier to read.

Look for project managers who ask the right questions to provide better results.

Once you get the quality you desire from a Korean translation company, be sure to let them know.

How to get consistent quality from a Korean translation company

You can request the same translator and proofreader.

A good translation company will be happy to receive any kind of feedback.

Never hesitate to voice your concerns or appreciation.

How does Korean to English translation service work?

Since you will be starting with a Korean document, word count will be calculated differently.

Most companies will use character count.

This can be found on MS Word documents at the bottom left corner. Click the word count and a box will appear.

There you can see the character (with spaces) field.

Some companies will use translation software for a more detailed count.

They can see the number of matching lines and fuzzy matches (matches that are not exact).

How does English to Korean translation service work?

Since you’ll be starting with an English document, page count will be calculated by simply using the word count.

This can be found at the bottom left-hand side of an MS Word document.

Let’s Hear from You

Thank you for reading!

Let us know your questions about Korean translation service in the comments!