저와 지난 몇 년간 알고 지내며 같이 일해 온 로라가 제 한국어 블로그의 독자들을 위해 매우 유용한 글을 하나 준비했습니다. 실은 제 영어 사이트를 위해 저와 로라가 함께 만들고 있는 E-코스가 하나 있는데(10 Simple Yet Powerful English Grammar Lessons for Non-Native Translators E-Course, 한영번역 공부 코스 묶음 2도 참조), 이참에 로라의 경험을 바탕으로 한국어가 모국어인 번역가들을 위한 글을 따로 하나 작성하게 되었습니다. 한국 사람이 쓴 영어를 오랫동안 편집해 온 경험을 바탕으로 쓴 것이라, 한영 번역을 하는 분들은 물론이거니와 여러가지 이유로 영어 문장을 써야 하는 다른 분들에게도 도움이 많이 되리라 확신합니다. 로라가 직접 쓴 자기소개가 제일 아래에 붙어 있습니다. 혹시 로라에게 문의할 일이 있는 분은 griffon trans @ naver.com 으로 연락하십시오(봇이 자동으로 읽어가는 것을 방지하기 위해 글자 사이에 공백을 넣었으니 실제 연락할 때는 저기서 공백을 없애야 합니다).
In this post, we’ll look at a few specific issues that often trip up native Korean speakers who translate into English. Most of these arise because translators translate too directly from Korean, not realizing that the way they’re writing is inappropriate in English. Naturally, the best way to get past this is to spend as much time as possible immersed in English to get the feel of it – listening and reading in English will help you in this regard far more than any post on the Internet. Still, I suspect a lot of translators write these things because they don’t realize they’re incorrect or sound awkward, even if they are otherwise very competent in English. This post is intended to be sort of a targeted attack at a few specific problem areas translators may not have noticed.
Wrong: Most of people in South Korea speak fluent Korean.
Right: Most people in South Korea speak fluent Korean.
In English, there is no such construction as “most of”. You can use either “most” or “most of the” (“Most of the people…” would be fine in our example sentence above.) “Most” and “most of the” are usually interchangeable, but not with time; use “most of the time” if you want to talk about something that’s usually the case, or “most times” if you want to talk about the majority of times something happens.
Awkward: Kimchi is the representative South Korean food.
Better: Kimchi is a well-known South Korean food.
Grammatically, there’s nothing wrong with using the word “representative”. However, most of the times Koreans would use 대표적인 or similar words, English speakers wouldn’t use representative, which means that if you translate this word as “representative”, your translation won’t sound like that of a native speaker. Representative is most often used in English as a noun in the sense of someone who represents someone else to talk about congressional representatives or something like that. You can replace the adjective “representative” with well-known, best-known, famous, or sometimes typical or characteristic.
이 번역은 15일까지 납품하면 돼요.
Wrong: Please submit this translation until the 15th.
Right: Please submit this translation by the 15th.
In many cases, it’s perfectly acceptable to translate 까지 as until. However, when writing about deadlines in particular and saying something is due, must be paid, must be submitted, etc., use “by” instead of “until”.
Size, color, scale
큰 사이즈 바지는 빨간색도 있고, 노란색도 있어요.
Wrong: The large size pants are available in red color and yellow color.
Right: The large pants are available in red and yellow.
Words like “large”, “small”, and all color words already imply size, color, or scale in English. There’s no need to write “black color” or “small size” or “large scale” when using these adjectives. If, however, “size” or “scale” are the nouns in your sentence, as in the examples below, you do need them. If they are part of the adjectives used to describe another noun, leave them out.
Examples of correct use:
These pants are available in large and small sizes.
The project unfolded on a grand scale.
Wrong: Especially, subjects who had received three doses of the medicine had lower blood pressure 6 hours later.
Right: In particular, subjects who had received three doses of the medicine had lower blood pressure 6 hours later.
In most situations in which you have to translate 특히, “in particular” is the best phrase to use. In particular, “especially” should never be used to start a sentence; only in the middle, and it’s most often used as an intensifier for adjectives; for example, “That pie was especially delicious.”
Words not to start sentences with
It is perfectly normal to start Korean sentences with words like 그래서, 그리고, 그런데, and so on. You should be aware, though, that you should, in general, avoid translating these words with simple conjunctions like “and”, “but”, and “so” at the beginning of a sentence. “And”, “but”, and “so” can be used to start sentences, but they are very tricky to use correctly in this way; in fact, when I (Laura) was in elementary school, our teachers told us not to ever start sentences with these words, because they are so difficult to use correctly that you shouldn’t try until you’re certain you’ve got the hang of it, which takes a lot of exposure to good written English. You should also try not to start sentences with “also” and should usually not start sentences with “then”. Here are some alternatives that you can use at the beginning of sentences:
Instead of “and”: “furthermore” or “moreover”
Instead of “but”: “however”, “nonetheless”, or “regardless”
Instead of “so” or “then”: “therefore” or “thus” (“therefore” is used when discussing the conclusion reached after whatever happened in your previous sentence(s). “Thus” is used when discussing the direct result of whatever happened in your previous sentence(s).)
Note that when you start a sentence with any of the words above (furthermore, however, etc.), you should always follow that word with a comma: “However, it is said that…” or “Nonetheless, we believe that…”
Wrong: I bought a table, chairs, desk, lamp, and etc. for my office.
Wrong: I bought a table, chairs, desk, lamp, etc for my office.
Wrong: I bought items including a table, chairs, desk, lamp, etc. for my office.
Right: I bought a table, chairs, desk, lamp, etc. for my office.
Right: I bought items including a table, chairs, desk, and lamp for my office.
“Etc.” goes at the end of a list when you want to imply that there is more to the list but don’t need to mention every single item. It must always begin with a small letter and end with a period. In those very rare situations when it is the first or only word in a sentence, like the one at the beginning of this paragraph, it is capitalized; however, those sentences really never occur unless you’re writing about grammar, as I am! As “etc.” implies that there is more to the list, it shouldn’t be used when you already began your list with “including” or “such as”, and it should never be preceded by “and”. It can be replaced by “and so on” in informal situations.
While it may be tempting to assume the 필 here is short for 필요 or “needs”, that’s not the case; this often mistranslated term means that checking has already been completed. You can translate this with “checking complete”, “verification complete”, “has been checked”, etc. depending on the nature of your translation.
Wrong: ACME was founded in 1989 and now exports furniture throughout the world.
Right: Acme was founded in 1989 and now exports furniture throughout the world.
Wrong: Acme Co., Ltd. was founded in 1989 and now exports furniture throughout the world. The company employs approximately 500 workers who have worked at Acme Co., Ltd. for an average of 11 years each.
Right: Acme Co., Ltd. was founded in 1989 and now exports furniture throughout the world. The company employs approximately 500 workers who have worked at Acme for an average of 11 years each.
A very common problem, particularly with certain smaller Korean companies, is their tendency to write the company name in all capital letters. This is another one of those things that’s not technically wrong, but tends to look bad. Company names that are abbreviations, such as IBM, must naturally be written in all capitals, but other company names such as Samsung should not. Korean translators also frequently translate (주) as Co., Ltd. or something similar, which is fine, but common practice in English is to only put these kinds of abbreviations into the text the first time the company is mentioned, and later to only refer to the company by its name alone without Co., Ltd., Inc., and so on.
Space before (, no space before :
Wrong: Mrs. Smith(formerly Miss Jones) bought three things : milk, bread, and eggs.
Right: Mrs. Smith (formerly Miss Jones) bought three things: milk, bread, and eggs.
These two punctuation marks are used the same way as in Korean, but their spacing is opposite; always put a space before an open parenthesis, and never put a space before a colon.
Laura is a native English speaker who not only translates but also frequently edits translations done by non-native speakers, so she’s very familiar with the kinds of mistakes that they make. As a language learner herself (fluent in French, Spanish, and Korean), she understands how difficult it can be to learn a new language at an advanced level and how many small details you need to master before you can sound like a native speaker. Laura lived in Korea for seven years and studied Korean at Yonsei. She has been working as a freelance translator from Korean and French into English and thereby enjoying the career of her dreams since 2013.