ASKC Launches Search and Correct Campaign

Correction Campaign Vows to Boost Korea's Global Image: Social Media Initiative Takes on "Konglish" Signs, Misleading Texts

Globalization in the 21st century has brought the world together closer than ever before, and Korea continues to advance its reputation in the global marketplace. At the same time, Korea has been increasingly active in developing cultural exchanges with other countries.

Since its launch in 2008, the Asia Society Korea Center has established a firm footing in Korea's cultural landscape and is making a difference in the lives of future generations.  In 2009, we partnered with the Seoul Global Center to fund a scholarship for children of lower income multi-ethnic families in Korea, in order to help them reach their dreams and become young leaders of the future. We are seeking ways to broaden the scope of such cultural and educational activities in the years ahead. Our goal is to foster a discourse about new partnership opportunities and non-governmental approaches to stimulating the imagination and potential of the young.

Koreans of all generations are embracing globalization, and strive to engage people of many nationalities. They devote a significant amount of their time and income to developing foreign language proficiency, which they view as crucial to competitiveness in the global workforce. From restaurant menus to road signs, multilingual information is available all over the country, including at tourism and heritage sites.

Still, when it comes to global connections, enthusiasm is not always enough. Accuracy is also required. Signs in many places are often translated from Korean to English in an awkward manner that can leave international visitors confused. Other places, meanwhile, lack the resources to offer any translation whatsoever.

Not only linguistic inaccuracies pose a challenge, but factual ones as well. Koreans and international visitors alike are shown a skewed picture of the world in school textbooks and other resources that incorrectly recount world history. Students often accept misinterpretations as facts, and ultimately are liable to misperceive people of different cultural backgrounds. Instead of enhancing Korea's cultural infrastructure by bridging differences, inaccurate informational resources can potentially undermine mutual understanding.

The Asia Society Korea Center is taking action to improve the situation. In partnership with the Asia 21 Korea Chapter, we will be launching the Search and Correct Campaign (SCC) in August 2012. The SCC will have two core projects: the textbook correction project and the Korean-English translation correction project.

An old Korean proverb states "an open house can provide for guests only when it is clean." The Search and Correct Campaign will make Korea a better place for guests, by cleaning up the country's signs, and other public means of international communication. We will focus our energies on enhancing communication between ethnic Koreans, multicultural newcomers to Korea, and the expatriate visitors who work and invest here.

Your participation will bring invaluable insight and energy into this project. Join us!

Expected Results of Project

The SCC project will produce a comprehensive document spelling out suggested changes in signage and other forms of public communication. The clear, actionable information contained in the SCC committee's final report will make it simple for public officials to implement changes that immediately make their cities and towns more understandable and accessible to the international community, potentially boosting tourism revenues and enhancing global esteem for Korea on the world stage. In addition, this project will engage the broadest possible public awareness of and participation in the project

Project Objectives

The SCC will be comprised of two separate but related projects: (1) the textbook correction project and (2) the Korean-English translation correction project. The objectives are to:

  • Find topics that are current, relevant and interesting to the Korean society at large;
  • Maximize the unique strengths of our members to enhance cultural education with a multidisciplinary approach;
  • Encourage and support properly guided cultural exchanges that bring Korean and foreign communities closer together;
  • Promote collective efforts of many Koreans and representatives of the international community to exponentially enrich the process of building a global Korea;
  • Build a leading network of young Korean leaders focused on creating solutions to shared challenges, developing partnerships with educational institutions in order to share the best ideas about education, and strengthen relationships with cultural and governmental organizations to increase the availability of public resources; and
  • Greatly improve dialogue and relations amongst the various communities in Korea and beyond.

Participating Organizations

Voluntary Agency Network of Korea (VANK)
The Korea Herald
10 Magazine
Seoul International Women's Organization
Royal Asiatic Society Korea Branch
Council on International Educational Exchange
Angel-in-us Coffee
Krispy Kreme Korea

Committee Members

Asia Society
Yvonne Yoon-Hee Kim, Executive Director, Asia Society Korea Center

Grace Norman, Managing Editor, Education Online, Global Asia Society

Asia 21 Korea Chapter
Sean Sea-Yeon Kim, LIAN CG 
Ryan Jungwook Hong, Chairman, Herald Corporation
Gitae Park, Head, Voluntary Agency Network of Korea
Cecilia Heejeong Kim, Professor, SangMyung University
Grace Eun-Hye Kim, Vice President, KT
Daehyung Lee, Curator, H Zone
Eddie Suk Hyun Kang, Creative Director, Happycell Inc.
Youngro Lee, Associate, Kirkland & Ellis LLP

Asia Society Korea Center Members
H.E. Aram Cisneros, Ambassador, Embassy of Panama
Bradley Buckwalter, President, ADT CAPS Korea
Suzanne Crowder Han, Representative, Royal Asiatic Society Korea Branch
Terri Hartman, President, Seoul International Women's Association
Stephen Revere, Managing Editor, 10 Magazine
David Waters, Regional Counsel, IBM Korea