US-Korea FTA bill withdrawn for translation errors

June 18, 2012 by  
Filed under Translation News

  A long-delayed free trade agreement between Washington and Seoul faced more troubles  in April 2011, after the South Korean cabinet withdrew a bill for its ratification over translation blunders.

It is the third time this year Seoul has been left embarrassed by mistakes in the Korean text of such a pact after an FTA between South Korea and the European Union has twice been put on hold due to errors.

The government said the South Korea-US agreement will be resubmitted to parliament next month, potentially delaying the process by a few more months.

It faces resistance from the country’s small but powerful farm lobby, which has said the government has done little to provide relief for the expected damage it will suffer due to the pact.

US and South Korean trade negotiators struck a deal in December on the trade pact, which was signed in 2007 but had been held up by US auto and beef industry concerns.

The United States and the European Union are racing against each other to be the first to seal a free trade agreement with South Korea, the world’s 15th largest economy, hoping to get a jump-start on the benefits of increased business deals.

Jenny Park, President of koreaninterpreters.net, reviewed the FTA with her students in Negotiation class while in Seoul, Korea.  She says there were two or three errors on every page and couldn’t believe it was a government document.  “But on the other hand, ” says Jenny.  “Almost all the Korean translations I have edited have errors like that.  It is scary to think that there is such a huge barrier of ‘mistranslation’ between Korea and the rest of the world.  Korea is like an island in terms of language.  Its globalization would be complete only with well trained and competent translators who would not make so many errors in translation.”   Then she added, “and the sad fact is, I have not seen any who don’t.”

 

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