Cheil creates translator app for North Korean defectors

Cheil translator app

A Cheil employee teaching students at South Korean school for North Korean defectors

An advertising agency in Seoul has created an app for North Korean defectors that translates the North Korean language into South Korean.

The app, which works like a “digital dictionary”, includes 3,600 words used in Korean language textbooks for high school students. As well as the meanings of South and North Korean words, example sentences are also given.

When the user scans an unfamiliar word with their smart phone camera, the translated text appears. Users can also manually input text to be translated.

North Korean university students living in South Korea were involved in working on the vocabulary translation and proof reading, and Cheil art directors created images for words that were not easy to explain verbally.

Since the separation of the two Koreas 60 years ago, the two countries have evolved languages that are now 40 per cent different in daily life, and 60 per cent different for business, according to the agency, which is entering the app into the Cannes Lions awards.

Jae-young Choi, the head of Cheil’s Good Company Solution arm, was quoted as saying: “The app introduces a concept of ‘invisible text book’, helping North Korean and South Korean students to understand each other’s language. We will continue to update the vocabulary, while providing career mentoring and other forms of volunteering for North Korean defectors.”


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