Korean Translation Tip: Korean Has a Plural Form; It Just Doesn’t Get Used Much

Sometimes I’ll get a message like this from a client:

“Steven, the client just made the following change in the English. Can you update it in the Korean?

Old version: “We’ll be sending you a document for you to sign.”

New version: “We’ll be sending you some documents for you to sign.”

In most cases, no change is required in the Korean. That’s because, while Korean IS able to express plurals clearly, it’s not nearly as smoothly done as in English where it’s embedded into the sentence structure and glides off the tongue smoothly.

In Korean, the singular/plural distinction is often omitted unless it’s important. Thus, by adding the tag to make a noun plural, you’re calling attention to the fact that being plural is important and so it’s often best to just leave it out unless there’s a reason otherwise.

That’s why, the above revision to the English source is likely to result in no change to the Korean.

Best Practices Tip – Don’t fret over plurals in your Korean translation. If you change the source from singular to plural, go ahead and send it over to your Korean translation team to make sure, but don’t be surprised if no change is required.

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