Microsoft Thanked Me for Renewing My Subscription to the Magazine “Office 365 Small Business Premium”

I have been using the Korean version of Office 365 Small Business Premium for a year and it's time to renew. A couple days ago, Microsoft sent me an email thanking me for renewing.

Only problem….

They used the word for "subscribe" that is only used when subscribing to things to read, such as newspapers and magazines.

And they didn't mess it up once… They used the wrong word four times in one email.

Check it out:


In every case, the indicated Korean word should be changed to "사용권". In Korean, there is no straight translation for "subscription" in the English sense here. The correct word means "right to use", which, if you think about it, means exactly what it should.

Perhaps the linguists who worked on the job didn't know that they were translating for a software subscription, rather than a magazine subscription. Or perhaps they just reused old TM segments which had been translated for a magazine subscription situation. Or maybe they just weren't paying attention.

Whichever it was, the QA processes failed. 

For lots more of these, check out A Collection of Korean Translation Errors in the User Interfaces of Leading Software.

2 Responses

  1. jeroen says:

    At least they were consistent 🙂 But it’s frustrating, isn’t it? You’ve highlighted some pretty blatant issues with high-profile companies in the past; perhaps it’s time to email/call them directly…

  2. Myong-Sang Lim says:

    Or, maybe the translator would like to use something like “사용권” but forced to follow the MS Terminology. Enforcing strict terminology rules are one way to ensure consistency but the other side of the coin is that it sometimes yield awkward translations. Many outsourcers don’t understand this.

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