Korean Subtitle Translation: Unveiling the allure of the Korean Wave (Hallyu)

January 26, 2024 | Nhu Y Dang
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Under the positive influence of the Korean cultural wave (Hallyu), the Korean language is becoming increasingly popular globally, primarily through K-dramas, K-pop MVs, eSports, and more. This trend intensifies the demand for Korean subtitle translation more than ever. 

Korean subtitle translation is prevalent in the field of translation, but it also poses significant challenges for translators. So, what makes Korean subtitle translation special? Read on with this article to discover the answers to this intriguing question!

What’s special about Korean subtitle translation?

Korean language, also known as “Hangeul” or “Hangul”, is a source of pride for Koreans. Initially designed to make the language more accessible for people to read and use, Hangeul has gone through centuries of existence and development in every aspect, posing many challenges for Korean subtitle translators. 

Firstly, the extensive Korean vocabulary comprises 1,149,538 words (according to the Woori Mal Saem Dictionary, 2017). In comparison, French contains around 60,000 words and 300,000 definitions (according to the two well-known dictionaries by Larousse and Le Robert), and English has approximately 600,000 word forms defined (according to the second edition of the Oxford Dictionary).

With such a vast vocabulary, translating Korean subtitles into other languages faces significant obstacles, as not every Korean word translates directly into equivalent meanings in French or English.

The most basic sentence structure in Korean is made with “Subject – Object – Verb”. However, in daily communication, Korean people often use shortened sentence structures to achieve natural dialogue.

Therefore, when translating Korean videos into other languages, linguists need to pay special attention to context to create accurate subtitle translations. Another characteristic of the Korean language that can perplex translators is the use of honorifics in daily communication.

Koreans use honorifics as a cultural necessity to demonstrate the hierarchical social status of participants. Korean honorifics can be divided into three categories: subject honorifics, object honorifics and addressee honorifics, each of them boasts distinct features and functions.

Korean honorifics - Thao & Co.

When translating Korean subtitles, care must be taken not to lose the subtle beauty embedded within this special honorific system. On the other hand, when translating other languages into Korean, localization is a necessary step to ensure the translation aligns with the local culture.

Since English lacks an honorific system, when translating into Korean, translators need to localize the addressing system using appropriate honorifics to help the translation seamlessly integrate into the local culture. 

Successful Korean subtitle translation requires translators to possess an in-depth understanding of the Korean language and its unique cultural nuances. Only then can the translation serve as a “bridge” to bring the Korean language closer to a global audience. 

What does the Korean subtitle translation service include?

Thao & Co. - Korean subtitle translation service

The robust development of South Korea across various industries has created new opportunities in Korean subtitle translation. Here are some common Korean subtitle translation services available today. 

Film subtitle translation

Korean films, also known as K-dramas, are beloved by audiences worldwide. The appeal of K-dramas stems from creative scripts, professional production teams, and the attractive appearance of actors/actresses.

Additionally, romantic plotlines also contribute to the popularity of Korean films globally. Therefore, Korean subtitle translation for films is currently a thriving field. 

While translating film subtitles is widespread, it remains a significant challenge for translators. In a movie, subtitles play a crucial role in eliminating language barriers while also helping the movie easily leave a strong impression on audiences.

Therefore, film subtitle translators not only need to convey accurate information but also provide the best viewing experience. 

Two fundamental requirements for film subtitle translation are precisely conveying the original nuances of the film, which means ensuring the “encoding” process is meticulous enough for the audience to “decode.”

The timing of subtitle translation must also be properly adjusted to avoid discrepancies between subtitle text and character dialogue. 

Keeping up with the development of film subtitle translation services, Thao & Co. always updates our operation to the latest translation technologies, paired with our experienced team of translators to deliver high-quality film subtitle translations.

Our translators and technicians are proficient in various professional subtitle creation software such as Aegisub, Subtitle Edit, AHD Subtitles Maker, and more.

Moreover, Thao & Co. is always here to support you if there are any additional requirements for any projects. If your request involves integrating subtitles into a film, we are always willing to directly hardcode subtitles into the video to provide you with the highest quality and meticulous subtitle translation. 

Video game subtitle translation

South Korea is widely known as the birthplace of esports, it is a widely beloved sport in this country. Many Korean games such as Lineage 2M, Lost Ark, Blade and Soul, Phantomgate, and Black Desert Mobile have conquered millions of users globally. 

eSports in Korea - Thao & Co.

Game subtitle translation or dubbing brings significant benefits, contributing to the success of a game by improving user experience, expanding the reach of the target audience, increasing download rates, and fostering player loyalty.

Therefore, Korean game subtitle translation is the “key” to successfully introducing Korean games into new markets. When it comes to game subtitle translation, the translation agency plays a crucial role. 

The responsibility of the translation agency, the entity performing the game subtitle translation, is essential. At Thao & Co., we have experience in delivering various successful translation projects and have become a reliable partner for many publishers and game studios. Thao & Co. always commits to providing you with culturally localized subtitle translations to help your game reap success in the target market. 

To better support your projects, Thao & Co. also provides a proprietary platform for easy tracking and management of your game subtitle translation process. 

YouTube video subtitle translation

A quality YouTube video subtitle translation can help you quickly spread your message and facilitate audience engagement from different countries. Whether it’s K-pop music videos, reality shows, or entertainment programs, YouTube video subtitle translation propels Korean content to a global audience. 

YouTube video subtitle translation is the primary solution to help your videos attract a large amount of traffic, views, and shares on this platform. 

It requires the translator to have a deep understanding of language and culture to be able to embed suitable cultural elements into the videos to stimulate viewer interest. 

Thao & Co.’s YouTube video subtitle translation projects are handled by a team of linguists proficient in various fields, ensuring high-quality subtitle translations. Additionally, we will also support you by executing the project as promptly as possible to help your video quickly catch up with the trends of the platform. 

SRT file translation

The SRT (SubRip Subtitle) is a common file format used to save subtitles for a video, including information such as subtitle timestamps, font, display position, and size. SRT file translation goes beyond mere linguistic conversion; it involves maintaining the correct timecodes as in the original to ensure that subtitles are displayed consistently with the characters’ dialogue. 

SRT file translation is particularly crucial for a video as it directly impacts the viewer’s experience through subtitle display quality. A seamless SRT translation can greatly enhance your video’s reputation globally. 

However, SRT files have their own requirements, so the translator needs prior experience in translating SRT files in Korean to create the most precise translation possible.

With many years of experience in SRT file translation projects, Thao & Co. is committed to delivering accurate and high-quality SRT file translations by integrating professional translation software such as Subtitle Edit, executed by our seasoned and passionate team. 

Subtitle integration for videos

Integrating subtitles is a crucial step in determining the quality of subtitle display in a video. Subtitles in a video must meet important criteria such as synchronization, accuracy, and aesthetic appeal. 

To enhance the quality of the final product, upon your request, Thao & Co.’s will hardcode the Korean subtitles into the video. Our subtitling service is carried out by a team of professional and experienced specialists in the subtitle and video editing field. 

We are delighted to accompany you and fulfill all the requirements to bring you professional translation services. 

Korean subtitle translation process

The Korean subtitle translation process may vary among translation agencies. You can refer to the Korean subtitle translation process implemented at Thao & Co. as follows: 

Content research 

Before undertaking any translation project, our translation team will thoroughly analyze and research the project to gain a comprehensive insight into the original content that requires translation.

This step allows us to grasp cultural nuances that need appropriate localization and determine the main message that needs to be conveyed, our translators can then prepare thoroughly for the next translation stage.

This step is particularly crucial, helping our translators capture the entire “essence” of the original content. 

Translation and Proofreading

After the content research step, when the content of the original document and the relevant translation considerations are thoroughly understood, our translation team will proceed with translating the text.

This process requires a high level of concentration to produce an accurate and high-quality subtitle translation. Translators also need to apply their refined understanding and valuable experience to handle the translation flexibly and effectively. 

To optimize the translation time to be as quick as possible, we also carry out proofreading concurrent with the translation process. In this phase, our proofreaders will review and correct errors related to grammar, vocabulary, spelling, and sentence structure. The proofreading process ensures that the translated subtitles are of the highest accuracy, free from any translation errors.  

Final delivery 

When the subtitle translation reaches its finest level of completion, we will proceed to deliver the final product to you within the specified deadline. Depending on your requests, we can also provide complementary services such as creating SRT files with timecodes or directly integrating subtitles into the video, delivering the file format that meets all agreed-upon criteria.

Why choose Korean subtitle translation services at Thao & Co.?

Finding a Korean subtitle translation agency is not overly challenging, but finding an agency that offers professional Korean subtitle translation is never easy.

To choose a credible translation unit, you can consider criteria such as translator quality, pricing, workflow, and more.

Translation Services - Thao & Co.

Thao & Co. is confident in providing you with high-quality and professional Korean subtitle translation services. Why should you choose Thao & Co. for your projects? 

Native translation team

Translators at Thao & Co. are native experts with in-depth knowledge of language and native cultural understanding. This is a comprehensive solution in subtitle translation because native linguists can guarantee the accuracy of the translated content. Additionally, the translation style will also be suitable for the target market’s audience. 

Extensive experience in translation and localization

Subtitle translation is not merely linguistic conversion but also cultural adaptation. Therefore, a translation team with ample experience in translation and localization is the “key” to the success of the project.

At Thao & Co., our translators have successfully implemented many small and large Korean subtitle translation projects. With their extensive experience, our translators are flexible in handling any project-related issues seamlessly. 

Internal technicians

In the field of translation, modern technologies contribute significantly to the quality of the final product. Therefore, we have a team of internal technicians specializing in providing quality and efficient technical solutions.

Internal technicians also help us meet your technical requirements, delivering a high-quality final product to customers.  

Transparent quote and process

Workflow and pricing are two factors that most people are very concerned about when looking for translation agencies. Every translation project Thao & Co. carries out is based on an optimized and scientific workflow to better manage turnaround times and project quality.

With our exclusive B2B Translation Process, before initiating the translation project, we always provide clear and detailed quotes to you to avoid any additional costs during the execution process. 

Thao & Co. is always committed to providing you with the most professional and quality Korean subtitle translation services. Rest assured that the professional translation team at Thao & Co. will not let you down. 

For more detailed information about Korean subtitle translation services at Thao & Co., please visit Thaonco.com or our Get a Quote page to get in touch with us as quickly as possible.

Source: Thao & Company
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