No translation can ever be perfect unless it was team translated. No Korean can write English in a perfectly natural way, and no foreigner can do it in Korean either. But making a strong effort and acknowledging your weaknesses is the first step.
I’ve studied Korean almost every day for the last eight years, but I still make mistakes at times. That’s why even though I write every word on this site, I sometimes ask my Korean friends to look over the site to make sure there are no errors.
Whenever you translate something, don’t be ashamed to ask for help: being accurate is more important than your pride as a translator.
These days, the trend is towards not speaking a word of Korean in the English classrooms. People feel that even a short explanation in Korean of a word or phrase is in some way detrimental to students’ progress. I am absolutely against this idea.
When I attempt to teach Koreans how to express “타산지석” or “답답하다” in English, if I don’t use Korean, this task is made much more difficult and less precise. To teach advanced English to Koreans, one must use Korean. The thoughts and concepts that Koreans will seek to express will always be rooted in the Korean language.
People often rush to try to think in the target language. They argue against translating from your native tongue before speaking because they feel it will slow them down. Here’s how it works: you translate a phrase for the first 50 or so times you use it, yes, but later, it just flows out of your mouth. I used to translate before speaking in Korean, but in time this step fades away naturally.
When I studied Korean, none of my teachers explained anything in English because that was the policy of the institute as the classes were of mixed composition and many were non-English speakers. I spent much time trying to figure out what the phrase ” /ㄹ 것 같다” meant before I determined for myself that it was similar to “seems like” in English. It also took me a few weeks to figure out that the phrase “피장파장이다” meant “Now we’re even” in English. If someone had just told me these meaning in the first place, I could’ve learned so much faster and avoided a lot of wasted time.
That’s what this site is about: Learning English through Korean.
And since I am a native-speaker, you can trust the English expressions that you see on this site to be accurate. I recently took a trip to the English-learning section of the bookstore and flipped through a few English books. Again, I was shocked to see how many phrases are incorrect. And I’m not just saying that these are phrases that we don’t use very much; I’m saying that these phrases were not grammatically correct.
Koreans should remember that in Korea, the pressure publishing companies face to keep costs down is intense and so they very rarely hire native proofreaders. When studying English, don’t believe that anything published in Korea is necessarily accurate.
This site is to offer Koreans free English education that they can trust.