Korean Translation Tip: Koreans See Punctuation in Acronyms from a Different Perspective

I talked about acronyms awhile ago in connection with plurals and explained that the “s” should be removed from the end of an English acronym when translated to Korean.

The reason for this is that plurals in Korean aren’t quite the same as they are for us in English.

It’s a difference of perspective… and today, I’m going to tell you that punctuation is a bit tricky when working with acronyms, too.

A few years back, there was a popular Korean music group called “High-Five of Teenager” (whatever that’s supposed to mean!). But the group never used their full name (with a name that stupid, who would?); instead, they went by the acronym of the name.

Only problem… They punctuated it this way:


Do you see that there’s no period after the T? That’s because when Koreans use English acronyms, they see the periods, not as indicators of an abbreviation, but as cool-looking spacers between letters.

(In fact, in the very popular Korean text messaging service KaKaoTalk, if you add an extra space between characters, the program automatically adds periods as spacers!)

What does it matter? Well, occasionally you’ll see translations into Korean where the periods are left off the ends of acronyms, such as “U.S.A” or something.

Strictly speaking, it’s probably wrong, but as with other funny little quirks in Korean (remember the colon?), it’s hardly a big deal that absolutely must be corrected when translating into Korean.

Actually, the simplest solution is just to remove the periods altogether: USA (though, with H.O.T, the punctuation was as much a part of the “official name” as the letters).

Korean Translation Tip – Translations of acronyms into Korean will sometimes come back with lagging period that are missing. Likewise, if your translator isn’t on his or her game that day, a Korean translation into English may have acronyms that follow the Korean convention. Either remove the periods altogether or match the style to the respective language.

OK, C.U later…

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