Translated's Research Center

South Korea


To which language should you translate to localize in South Korea?

What we know from our community

Korean is the one and only language spoken on the Korean peninsula. Although the dialects and vocabularies of the North and the South differ, both countries share the same language and people from the two sides can communicate without any problem. Within South Korea, there are regional dialects but the dialect spoken in Seoul and the surrounding Gyeonggi Province is considered the “Standard Language.”

One important thing to note when you consider localizing your content into Korean is that the language is significantly different from English, both in terms of syntax (word order) and rhetoric.  A standard Korean sentence has the word order of “subject – object – verb or predicate”; while the order of subject and object is flexible, the verb/predicate must always come at the end of a sentence in Korean. The Korean language is sensitive in politeness and there are 4-7 degrees of politeness expressed through the language. Therefore it is very important to set the right level of politeness and tone in the localized content. “Informal” level of politeness is reserved for close friends or people lower in the social hierarchy in relation to the speaker; therefore, if the content is for the general public, it should always be written in a formal and polite way, even if the tone is casual and friendly“.

What the 150 top websites do

Of the top 150 website (Global by design ranking):

  • 113/150 translate into Korean.
  • 43/150 translate into English.
  • 2/150 translates into Simplified Chinese.

If you need others information, below you can find a selection of economic/social/cultural data



Official language
Korean (Pyojuneo),
Korean Sign Language.


T-Index ranks countries according to their potential for online sales.

Other languages
English, Japanese, Mandarin.

Moderate proficiency (EF) – 49 of 113 countries/regions in the world- 5/23 position in Asia.


Capital: Seoul
Currency: South Korean Won
Population: 51.77 mln
Population density: 523.2/km2


GDP: 1.67 Trillion USD (2022)
GDP per capita: 32,422.6 USD ‎(2022) ‎
Exports: $705 billion (2022)


Internet users: 97.2% penetration, 50.30 million
Unemployment rate: 2.7% (2023)
Urbanisation: 81.5% (2024)
Literacy: 98.8% (2024)


Numbering system
Arabic numbering system with the comma as decimal separator

Date format: dd – mm – yyyy
Time:  24h time system
Country code: 0055

Language data sources: Worldatlas/Britannica//EF/Wikipedia; Demography data sources: IMF/Worldometers; Conventions data source: Wikipedia; Economy data sources: WTO/OEC/CIA/Esomar/Datareportal; Statistics data sources: Datareportal/WorldBank/UN/UNESCO/CEIC/IMF/Culturalatlas/Commisceoglobal

Facts and data


$666 billion (2022). Crude Petroleum ($89.1B), Integrated Circuits ($56.4B), Petroleum Gas ($46.9B), Coal Briquettes ($26.8B), and Refined Petroleum ($26.1B), importing mostly from China ($150B), United States ($73.6B), Japan ($50.8B), Australia ($41B), and Saudi Arabia ($36B).

Financial inclusion factors (over 15 years of  age)
• 94.9% have an account with a financial institution
• 63.7% have a credit card
• 76% make online purchases

Ease of doing business
It is very easy to conduct business (rated 84 out of 100) 3rd out of 34 Asia Pacific countries 5th worldwide out of 190 countries (2020, World Bank).

$705 billion (2022). Integrated Circuits ($121B), Refined Petroleum ($61.4B), Cars ($52.1B), Broadcasting Equipment ($24.2B), and Motor vehicles; parts and accessories (8701 to 8705) ($20B), exporting mostly to China ($150B), United States ($112B), Vietnam ($60.7B), Japan($30.5B), and Hong Kong ($28.9B).

Main local online stores
Coupang, 11th Street, Interpark Global, G-market, Kurly Market.

Economic freedom
‘Mostly free’ (73.1 out of 100) 5th out of 39 countries in Asia Pacific, 14th worldwide out of 186 countries (2024, Heritage Foundation and Wall Street Journal).

Global Innovation Index
Ranked 2nd out of South East Asian, East
Asian, and Oceanian countries, 10th out of 132 worldwide.

The Global Innovation Index captures the innovation
ecosystem performance of 132 economies and tracks the most recent global innovation trends.

Economy data sources: WTO/OEC/CIA/Esomar/Datareportal

The Korean Waves

The Korean Waves

What's Imminent In South Korea

Each month, we spotlight a country with its own unique characteristics. Using analytical lens, we explore What’s Imminent in the linguistic, cultural, and economic tapestry to unveil its true character. Join us in this insightful exploration to understand the distinctive dynamics of each region.

Read it now!

Service Imports
Service Exports

Source: OEC

Trade balance of goods from 2012 to 2022

Source: Statista

Historical Data Trade Imports

The following section uses historical trade data imports from partners of South Korea.

Historical Data Trade Exports

The following section uses historical trade data exports from partners of South Korea.

Source: OEC

The Top Export Opportunities for South Korea by Relatedness

Relatedness measures the distance between a country's current exports and each product by showing only products that South Korea is not specialized in.

South Korea's Most Complex Exports

The Product Complexity Index (PCI) measures the knowledge intensity of a product by considering the knowledge intensity of its exporters.

Source: OEC

South Korea's Most Specialized Products

Specialization is measured using Revealed Comparative Advantage (RCA), an index that takes the ratio between South Korea observed and expected exports in each product.

Source: OEC

Perception of products made in selected countries in 2017

Source: Statista

Which attributes do you associate with products made in South Korea?

Source: Statista

Market Growth Imports

This score represents the likelihood that the given country will start importing that product in the next few years. It forecasts the opening of a new specific market.

Market Growth Exports

This score represents the likelihood that the given country will start exporting that product in the next few years. It forecasts the opening of a new specific market.

Source: OEC

Foreign direct investment, net inflows (% of GDP)

Source: WorldBank

Most commonly used mobile payment providers in South Korea in 2019

Source: Opensurvey



Reach most of the online purchasing power

T-Index ranks countries according to their potential for online sales. It estimates the market share of each country in relation to global e-commerce.

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Media language Korean, English

Information channels
TV is influential and the major terrestrial networks, including market leaders KBS and MBC, command the biggest audiences. Most South Koreans subscribe to digital cable, satellite or Internet Protocol TV (IPTV). South Korean TV soaps are popular across the region, including in China. They are part of the Korean Wave – the export of South Korean popular culture across Asia. Newspaper readership is high and there are more than 100 national and local dailies. The press is often critical of the government. Many newspapers are controlled by industrial conglomerates. A defamation law that provides for prison sentences prompts self-censorship, says Reporters Without Borders (RSF). A security law banning content deemed favourable to North Korea and is one of the main grounds for online censorship, the group says. South Korea is a trailblazer for high-speed and wireless internet. More than 88% of internet users are connected to a messenger service. Local platform KakaoTalk is hugely popular. Online gaming is a national passion.

The press

Chosun Ilbo – English-language pages
Dong-a Ilbo – English-language pages
The Korea Times – English-language
The Korea Herald – English-language
Hangyore Sinmun – English-language pages
JoongAng Ilbo – English-language pages
Hankook Ilbo – daily
Korea Economic – Daily
Munhwa Ilbo – daily
Segye Ilbo – daily


Korea Broadcasting System (KBS) – public
Munhwa Broadcasting Corporation (MBC) – public
Seoul Broadcasting System (SBS) – private
Education Broadcasting System (EBS) – public Jeonju Television Corporation (JTV) – private


Korea Broadcasting System (KBS) – public
KBS World Radio – external, multilingualRadio Munhwa Broadcasting Corporation – public, operates MBC Radio and music-based MBC FM
Seoul Broadcasting System – operates SBS-FM
Christian Broadcasting System (CBS)
Buddhist Broadcasting System (BBS)
tbs eFM
– Seoul, English-language

News agency

Yonhap News Agency – English-language pages

Media data source: BBC

Internet Data

Internet users
97.2% penetration, 50.30 million (2024).

Share of web traffic by device
60.48% mobile phones, 38.68% computers (laptops and desktops), 0.84% tablet devices.

Median speed of mobile Internet connection
136.40 Mbps

Median speed of fixed Internet connection
123.36 Mbps

Mobile connection as a percentage of total population: 128.3%

Percentage of mobile connections that are broadband (3G-5G): 99.7%

Most popular web search engines
Google (52.33%), Naver (40.48%), Bing (3.76%), Daum (1.6%) CocCoc (0.65%), Yahoo (0.43%).

Most used social media
Facebook (59.13%), YouTube (33.25%), Twitter (4.09%), Instagram (2.3%), Pinterest (0.75%),  reddit (0.23%).

Internet data sources: Datareportal/Statcounter

Social statistics

Life expectancy
84 yrs (2021)

Current health expenditure
8.36% of GDP (2020)

Current education expenditure
81.5 (2020)

Average age of the population
45.1 yrs (2024)

CO2 emissions
11 metric tons per capita

World Happiness Index
South Korea ranked 59 out of 146 countries, with a score of 5.935.

Corruption perceptions Index
South Korea scored 63 out of 100, ranked 31 out 180 countries worldwide (2023).

Glass Ceiling Index
24.8 out 100, ranked 29th out of 29 countries.

The glass-ceiling index measures the environment for working women combining data on higher education, labor-force participation, pay, child-care costs, maternity and paternity rights, business-school applications, and representation in senior jobs.

Social statistics sources: WorldBank/UN/UNESCO/CEIC/IMF

The Data Factbook is a work in progress project. Our community is helping us to fill it up always with new and updated data. Your contribution is precious. If you want to help us, please write your advices at

Country Curiosities

In Korea, the number four is considered unlucky because its pronunciation, “sa,” is similar to the word for death. This superstition is so strong that many buildings skip the number four in their floor numbering, replacing it with “F” for “floor.” This cultural aversion to the number four reflects a deep-rooted fear of death, common in various East Asian cultures, that influences approaches to architecture and daily life.


  • A Korean person born on the same day as you is considered one year older because the gestation period is counted. A newborn is considered one year old.
  • It is customary to give toilet paper, soap, and cleaning products as housewarming gifts, as this is believed to bring good luck. This tradition dates from the period after the Korean War, when such items were considered luxurious.
  • Makeup for men is popular thanks to the influence of K-pop. It is common to see male idols wearing lipstick, mascara, or foundation, reflecting the importance of appearance in Korean society.
  • South Korea’s medical sector is experiencing a plastic surgery boom and employs almost 2,600 specialists. Both young men and women often undergo cosmetic procedures, making the country a hotspot for medical tourism.
  • Instead of WhatsApp, South Koreans use KakaoTalk for messaging, voice messages, video calls, and sending stickers.
  • Rather than the wooden or plastic chopsticks used in China and Japan, Koreans use metal chopsticks, historically made of silver to detect poison.
  • South Korea’s public transport is highly efficient. Metro stations play different music for each line, have arrows indicating where to stand, and use the T-money card, a prepaid card for transport and shopping.

Languages research

Korean dialects


  • Seoul Korean

  • Gangwon Korean

  • Chungcheong Korean

  • Jeolla Korean

  • Gyeongsang Korean

  • Jeju Korean

The geographical distribution of languages that you will find in the maps published in this section is a work in progress. Our community is helping us to fill it up with always new and updated data. Your contribution is precious. If you want to help us, please write to

Photo credit: Jet Dela Cruz, Unsplash