More and more foreigners are visiting the websites of government agencies for information about Korea.
But a majority leave with one complaint: a lack of consistency in the Korean translations and phonetic notations.
Despite a growing demand for translations in the public sector, Korea does not yet have an organization tasked exclusively with providing official translations, nor is there an organization responsible for quality control.
Because of this, government agencies usually find translators on their own, which lawmaker Kim Jang-sil says is a waste.
"There is no standardization in place for organizing, producing and assessing public translations. Under these circumstances, it's hard to expect high-quality translations. And because there are no follow-up measures, public translation materials often get tossed out after they are produced. It's a waste of taxpayers' money."
Translations on government agency websites are poor in quality.
For instance, Japanese words are used on the Chinese page of Korea's Justice Ministry website.
In a forum held Wednesday at the National Assembly, translation and interpretation experts agreed that these issues merit greater attention.
They proposed a task force, and then turning it into a full-fledged agency exclusively in charge of public sector translations.
Creating a database for translations of professional terminology was also mentioned.
The European Union, for instance, has the Directorate-General for Translation an agency that oversees the translations for the European Commission.
"Speakers at the forum encouraged the lawmakers who were present to refer to foreign models such as the one in the EU and develop a similar kind of translation agency to serve Korea's needs. The response from the lawmakers was positive, which hopefully means that the quality of Korea's public sector translations will soon improve.
Kim Yeon-ji, Arirang News."