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Government Web sites contain many errors

Posted December. 11, 2000 12:58,   


The widespread and rampant errors in the usage of the English language at various governmental Web sites are incurring their share of international embarrassment.

The English Web site of the Prime Minster's Office labels the anti-corruption policy in Korea as the "Creation of Social and Cultural Environment of Corruption." Such a gross error can only be attributed to lack of English fluency.

Chong Wa Dae:

The page that introduces President Kim Dae-Jung¡¯s philosophy in economic policies is labeled, "Economical View." A direct translation could render it to mean a kind of frugality mindset rather than it being understood correctly as "views on economy."

Within the page, a section is titled, "Building an Equitarian Welfare Society." However, the word "equitarian" is not a part of the English language as could be found in an English dictionary. The page also contains spelling errors such as "fife" instead of "life."

National Assembly:

As soon as the Web page comes on screen, the first words, "Open to the Public with a Nation," comes on screen, a phrase that could only be considered "Konglish" or "broken English." Although it probably means, "The National Assembly for the People" or "The National Assembly Open to the Public," it might be difficult for foreigners to fully understand its meaning. Again, a spelling error could be found in the page with "leders" instead of "leaders."


Being much too modest, Korea has been humbly named a "small Asian country" at the Ministry of Culture and Tourism¡¯s Web site.

In the page titled the "Images of Korea," a vague statement grammatically erroneous, "hanbok have been altered to better suit practical everyday comfort," renders the exact meaning hard to decipher. Also included are various sentences with question marks within the sentence and without periods at the end.

The Ministry of Unification's Web page also contains errors of using capitals where they are not necessary and misspelling "version" as "versin."

A reporter at the daily Dong-A Ilbo, Kim Jung-Ahn (UCLA, Sociology), upon examination of these sites with the aid of Theresa Jung (Harvard, Biochemistry) and Dianne Kim (currently attending the Stanford Graduate School of International Political Science), said, "Rather than taking the time and care to enlist a little help by a native speaker, such carelessness and lack of concern is damaging to the Korean image."

Cheon Kwang-Am iam@donga.com