Translation musings: the quirks of language

Sep 4, 2014 | Language, Uncategorized

HELLO in eight different languagesWelcome to a new series of mini-blog posts looking at some of the rules and quirks of different languages. We’re taking a bite-size look at Korean today, thanks to the marvellous wisdom of translator Steven Bammel. You can find out loads more about Korean on his blog here.

One thing to watch out for when translating into Korean, says Steve, is the colour red. In particular, names in red. The only names to appear in red in Korean culture are those of the dead and it is therefore considered extremely unlucky for the names of the living. This is not a common issue, admittedly, but one to be aware of if you ever find yourself needing a Korean translation (as well as Japanese, Chinese and other languages from countries with a history of Chinese cultural influence).

I would love to hear your gems of wisdom or fun facts – especially all you translators out there! Please email me at