If you are shopping for Korean translation services, the following information may help you take informed decisions:
Freelance translators: The translation market in Korea is growing rapidly, and so do the number of freelance translators. There are more than 10,000 of them in the country.
However, with the recent global recession wiping out jobs, increasing both early retirements and unemployment among college graduates, the number of self-proclaimed "translators" increases.
They are people with minimal knowledge of a foreign language who take translation assignments to earn some additional income. The quality of their translations is usually substandard.
It is a standard practice for professional translators to translate into their mother tongue. If your document is translated by a Korean translator into a foreign language - e.g., from Korean into English - have the translated text proofread by a language professional who is a native speaker of this foreign language (in our case, English).
Translation agencies: They are numerous, but many of them are small and lack a pool of qualified translators. Often, small translation services provide rush and cheap Korean translations the quality of which, however, is low.
Translation rates: Translation rates are rather low as compared with Korean living standards. The rates differ for translation of audiovisual materials, literary works, and technical texts. The general rule is that rates for a text translated from Korean into a foreign language are thrice as much as rates for a text translated from a foreign language into Korean.
In Korean into English translation, the length of the translated English text may increase by up to 120%. So it makes sense to negotiate a price based on source (Korean) words. Otherwise, you risk to pay by 120% more.
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