How do I Become a Korean Translator?

N. Madison
N. Madison

A Korean translator is a person who translates the Korean language into another language, such as Spanish or English, or vice versa. To become a Korean translator, a person must be proficient with two different languages. For example, a person may be proficient in both Korean and his native language. In some cases, however, a person who wants to become a Korean translator may also need a degree in order to be successful in this field.

Korean translators must be fluent in Korean and at least one other language.
Korean translators must be fluent in Korean and at least one other language.

It’s important to note that Korean translators typically work with text. This means they translate the written language. Sometimes, people use the word translator to mean a person who works with the spoken word. This person is usually referred to as an interpreter, however. It is possible, in some cases, for a person to act as both a translator and an interpreter.

A Korean translator may have a background in teaching English as a second language.
A Korean translator may have a background in teaching English as a second language.

A person who wants to become a Korean translator should be able to read, write, and understand Korean very well and have the same, or better, level of skill with his own language. There are some people who are self-taught and learn a second language while living abroad or from a bilingual parent. In many cases, however, earning a bachelor’s degree or master’s degree in Korean offers an aspiring translator good preparation for this career. The same goes for a native Korean speaker who will work to translate another language into Korean. He will need to become proficient in his chosen second language.

Regardless of whether or not a person goes to school to become a Korean translator, he may find it helpful to take some college composition courses in his native language. This will help him have the strong grasp of grammar, spelling, and sentence structure that he’ll usually need for this job. Likewise, a native Korean translator may do well to take courses that help him fine tune his Korean grammar and writing.

There are some freelance translation positions a person may get without a college degree. In such a case, an employer may give the job applicant a test to evaluate whether or not his skills are suitable for the job. In most cases, however, employers expect Korean translators to have degrees. This is especially true of government and educational institution employers. After earning a degree, a person may also seek an internship to prepare for this job; some people even pursue internships while they are still in college.

N. Madison
N. Madison

Nicole’s thirst for knowledge inspired her to become a wiseGEEK writer, and she focuses primarily on topics such as homeschooling, parenting, health, science, and business. When not writing or spending time with her four children, Nicole enjoys reading, camping, and going to the beach.

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Discussion Comments


I was a u.s. army soldier stationed in Seoul, South Korea for two years and I've been very interested in trying to become an translator because I miss the place and I enjoyed the culture. I'm self taught. Just curious how hard it would be to become one. Thanks for the input.


A friend of mine worked as a translator for an international company. She was Korean and had studied English and linguistics in college. She was young and enjoyed the trips to Korea to do translation. She translated both from Korean to English and English to Korean.

She had a knack for languages and was very good at her job. She was very quick because she knew both languages like the back of her hand.

The company hated to see her go when she quit to have a baby.


In my opinion, I think that a translator definitely needs to have a college and a long internship to be a good translator. This is true whether it's Korean English translation or vice versa. There are so many things you need to know about language to translate. Each language has so many expressions and idioms that have to be learned. Languages can't just be translated word for word - it may not mean the same thing at all.

And grammar, spelling, and many other aspects of the language have to be known thoroughly. Mastery of this skill of translating comes with practice.

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