Korean Translation Tip: A Surprising Aspect of Character Limitations in Korean Translations

I’ve been developing my skills in online marketing lately, which recently included earning a Google Adwords Individual Qualification.

In addition, since Korean is my gig and the Korean search engine Naver commands 70%+ of the Korean search market, I’ve done some studying there too. (If you have clients that need Korean-language online advertising, call me….)

Anyway, the reason I’m telling you this (besides bragging a bit) is that a very interesting language quirk came up when I started working on Naver.

The headline of a Naver ad is allowed a grand total of 15 characters.

What?!?… Google gives you 25!

But here’s the thing… Each Korean character contains 2-4 Korean letters so this actually allows more space for including meaning than Google….


You’re trying to advertise in English on Naver…

… and then you’re up a creek with only 15 letters!

Best Practices Tip – When you’ve got English to Korean translations with limitations on the number of characters permitted (such as video subtitling), you don’t really have to worry very much. In fact, within the same character limitations as English, we can write to our heart’s content in Korean.

(On the flip side, this causes occasional formatting issues in tables, but I’ll cover that in a later tip.)

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