Having served as a student editor in university, earned a Master’s in writing and publishing, and worked for over a year as an English editor for a Korean webtoon translation service, I have gained a diverse deal of hands-on experience when it comes to editing. When considering what makes a quality translation I find it doesn’t just stop at matching a Korean word to its English counterpart. Each word is laden with its own slight nuance, therefore other factors such as context and tone must always be taken into account.
I first realized how great of an impact a bad, or rather, lacking translation can have on a consumer’s experience after watching an English movie with Korean subtitles and seeing just how empty the translations read in comparison to what was occurring on the screen. I’ve now made it a hobby to watch English media with Korean subtitles and Korean media with English subtitles to further improve my translation abilities. In doing so I often find new and creative ways to phrase certain colloquial expressions that may not have a direct literal translation, but do have related “turns of phrase” shared between the languages.
My previous job as an English editor was originally only to proofread the submitted Korean to English translations for typos or grammatical errors. However upon noticing the context and tone of the scenes were not sufficiently captured in the text, I soon found my work often involved retranslating the submitted translations all together. For many proofreaders it might have been easier to ignore the issue as it was not required of the position, but being an avid consumer of dramas, movies, comics and webtoons myself I could not turn a blind eye to such a blatant problem. When I thought about all the effort it took the webtoon artists to infuse their work with wit and sentiment for their readers, and seeing their struggles lost to lazy translations, it was impossible for me to do nothing. Thus, please trust that my determination to maintain the original Korean creators’ quality of work will be of great service to any future clients.