Wednesday, October 18, 2017

Naver Maps coming in English for 2018 Pyeongchang Olympics

I tweeted earlier about how Naver Maps (and Kakao Map) will release full English versions of their apps coinciding with the upcoming 2018 Pyeongchang Olympics:

Naver intends to release an English version of its map app at an unspecified date, and will build on user feedback to also release a Chinese version. Kakao will likely release an English version in December, and will also upgrade its Kakao Navi to provide voice navigation in English.
Naver, Kakao to Release English Map Apps Ahead of Upcoming PyeongChang Winter Olympics | Be Korea-savvy

That article seems to be citing a Korean-language Yonhap News article source, which was actually the only article I could seem to find about this. And that quoted paragraph you just read above is literally all the info that's public right now, as far as I can tell. So stay tuned.

In the meantime, here's a nice thorough English guide to using Naver Maps:
🔗 [S. Korea] How to Use Naver/Daum Maps to Find the Fastest Route to Arcade Stream (or Anywhere) | Smashboards

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Tuesday, October 17, 2017

Naver Blogs get new Instagram style theme on mobile

Title says it all. Naver Blogs has a new theme called Album View that makes users' blog posts appear as little square thumbnail images that coincidentally mimics the look of Instagram.

Naver Blogs Album View. Image: Naver

I actually really like it. It's like an refreshed, updated version of Google Blogger's "Flipcard" or "Snapshot" dynamic templates. They have another one too for writing-focused blogs. Click the link in the picture caption if you're interested.

Naver has done a good job of keeping blogging relevant in Korea. Some people criticize Koreans' reliance on blogs for information, but come on, like citing Wikipedia is much better, or that random thing some guy said in a Facebook group.

Plus, from my tinkering, most Naver Blog desktop templates are pretty bad. Mobile ones look good though, which you can set from the app, in much the same way as the Wordpress app. But nobody cares about this stuff but me so </post>.

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Thursday, October 5, 2017

Twitter shows a 달토끼 (Moon Rabbit) emoji for Chuseok 2017

Little bit late on this, but if you hadn't noticed, Twitter is now displaying a cute emoticon of a rabbit silhouetted in front of a full moon, to celebrate the Chuseok (Korean Thanksgiving) harvest festival.

Examples of the Moon Rabbit

Here's an example from SK Telecom:

SK Telecom wishing you a HAPPY #추석. Image: Twitter

That's mildly funny. They're making a pun, which literally says "The thick rich smell of ham frying up... I'm sending you a happy Chuseok!" but "happy" and "ham frying" sound similar in Korean (햄볶 vs 행복, hambok vs. hengbok basically). Like I said, a mild and safe joke for a corporate entity to display. Throw in some innocent fresh faced male idols, and bingo, you've got a winning business tweet.

How to activate it

To activate it yourself, just tweet with one of these hashtags:

  • #추석 (Chuseok)
  • #한가위 (Chuseok in old Chinese naming style)
  • #보름달 (Full Moon)
  • #MidAutumnFestival
  • #Chuseok 

But do it quick, because this will only work from Sept 29 to Oct 9 so you've got three more days.

I did a quick check of the hashtag page myself just to look for another sample. Here's one from Virginia politician Ed Gillespie who clearly knows his state's demographics.

Chuseok well wishes from @EdWGillespie

Completely unrelated, but it was pointed out to me that until the recent Las Vegas shooting tragedy, the biggest lone-wolf type mass shooter in US history was in fact the Korean who perpetrated the Virginia Tech massacre. I didn't check the stats though.

Anyway here is the icon it is bringing up:

Image: Twitter

Why a rabbit?

You might be wondering: what the heck does a rabbit have to do with Chuseok?

Well, Chuseok is based on the lunar calendar so always falls on the full moon, and there's an old Korean legend that the features of the surface of the moon, when seen from Earth, look a bit like a rabbit making 떡 (rice cakes). See the comparative illustration here showing what cultures saw. Basically just like Westerners saw a Man in the Moon, Koreans and apparently several Asian nations saw a rabbit. See, Asians have been doing the whole cute kawaii/kiyomi animal thing for centuries. Boring Westerners and our bland ideas.

UPDATE: the Google Doodle shown in Japan for this Chuseok features the Moon Rabbit making rice cake.

Google's Japanese Thanksgiving doodle. Image: Google

From their explanation:
Today’s Doodle depicts the legend of ‘Tsuki no Usagi’, the rabbit who lives on the moon. Japanese folklore tells the story of the Old Man of the Moon, who wants to know the kindest animal. He disguises himself as a beggar and asks for food. The monkey brings him fruit. The fox brings a fish. But the rabbit, unable to find anything but grass, offers to jump into the fire to feed himself to the Old Man. Thus the rabbit proves himself to be the kindest and is taken to the moon, where he now lives. If you look hard enough, you may be able to spot his long ears as he bends over his pestle, grinding moochi (rice cakes).
Mid-Autumn Festival 2017 (Japan)

Other Twitter Korea emoji

Add this to the list of other Korean holiday emojis Twitter has been showing, including some I posted about:

Thanks for reading. Happy Chuseok folks.
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Wednesday, October 4, 2017

Cute Chuseok images from Kakao Friends

Here are six adorable wishing-you-well images for you to send to your Korean friends this Chuseok, courtesy of your favorite Kakao Friends.

Wishing you to spend each day of this Chuseok full of blooming happiness with your loving family!

Wishing you a spirit as bountiful (strong, healthy, bright, etc.) as the full moon, all the rest of the days of this year! 

Wishing all your desires/wishes come true this Chuseok!  

Wishing you a Chuseok as full/bountiful/plentiful as the bright full moon! 

These are all pretty flowery language, so I tried to strike a balance in my translations between accuracy and English understanding.

Chuseok, or Korean Thanksgiving, is a harvest celebration, so you'll notice the common theme among these is something about the bright full moon (upon which Chuseok is based). In Korea, the fall full moon is symbolic of a bountiful and plentiful harvest, so most of these are some variation on that theme. Personally, I think the last one is my favorite. For the most pleasant Chuseok, get stuffed!

All images sourced from: 
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Thursday, September 28, 2017

Twitter ups character limit to 280 but not for Korean

Interesting post from the official Twitter blog today. They crunched the numbers and scientifically came to the same conclusion anybody who tweets in Korean had already known: you can say a lot more in 140 characters of Korean than English.

Twitter's character limit counts one Korean character, which is really a whole syllable, as one "letter." Meaning you can actually cram in 140 syllables in Korean, but just 140 letters in English. Consider how my name, Sam, would take up 3 of your 140 limit in English, but 샘 takes just 1. That's a savings of 300%! Or something.

Anyway, in regards to this consideration, Twitter is holding back its new raised character limit from the CJK languages.

Here are the two relevant quotes from their official blog post:

We're going to try out a longer limit, 280 characters, in languages impacted by cramming (which is all except Japanese, Chinese, and Korean).

We see that a small percent of Tweets sent in Japanese have 140 characters (only 0.4%). But in English, a much higher percentage of Tweets have 140 characters (9%). Most Japanese Tweets are 15 characters while most English Tweets are 34.
Giving you more characters to express yourself

They include this handy illustration that shows the character count of the same tweet in 3 languages:

  • The English version uses 140 characters
  • The Spanish version uses 154 characters
  • The Japanese version uses 67 characters

Image: Twitter

Twitter posted the same content on their Korean langauge blog too. Here are those same two tidbits for your Korean friends:

트윗 글자수에 더 많은 제약을 받는 언어권을 위해 280자로 트윗 제한을 늘려보는 것입니다. (위에서 설명드린 이유로 일본어, 한국어, 중국어권은 이번 시도에서 제외됩니다)

일본어 트윗의 경우 0.4% 만이 140자 전체를 활용합니다. 영어 트윗을 보면 훨씬 높은 비율은 9%가 140자 전체를 사용하고 있습니다. 일본어 트윗 중 가장 많은 비중을 차지하는 글자수는 15자 이내인 반면 영어 트윗은 34자입니다.
트윗 글자수 확대에 대한 우리의 생각

You will notice that they focused on Japanese for their examples. But the same thing is true in Korean.

Consider for example these headline pairs from article translations in the Chosun Ilbo. Assume you were going to post these on Twitter. How would they compare? Both headline pairs are identical in English and Korean:

Prosecutors Seek to Extend Park's Detention (43 characters)
검찰, 박前대통령 구속 연장 요청 (18 characters)

Fitch Rating Firm Assess N.Korean Risk (38 characters)
피치 '북한 리스크' 평가 위해 訪韓 (20 characters)

In each case, the Korean version conveys the same information in much less space. So apparently Twitter feels it's unnecessary to bump up the limit. Makes sense I guess.

This could all be a moot point anyway, since it seems like most Korean newsmakers take to Facebook rather than Twitter. I don't even like Twitter anyway. I never forgave it for what it did to RSS.

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Wednesday, September 27, 2017

Daum Mail app gets major update to v.3.0

The Daum Mail app got a major overhaul this month. It's updated to version 3.0 and basically looks and works a lot more like the Google Inbox app now. Here are a few promo screenshots from the official Daum blog to get a look.

Daum Mail app promo screenshot. Image: Daum

Daum Mail app promo screenshot, showing new email list style, and attachment adding and previewing. Image: Daum

Among the new features are:
  • Cleaner, sleeker style
  • Attachment previews
  • Set reminders
  • Quick replies
  • Kakao Friends emoji

So, basically Inbox without the cute characters you know and love.

For reference, here's what the old app used to look like as version 2.0 rolled out:

Daum Mail app v.2. Source: Daum

Anyway I don't use Daum at all, so I can't tell you anything first hand. I'm just passing on the info.

Download the Daum Mail app here if you're curious:

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