Sunday, February 19, 2017

V Live fansubs in Naver Dictionary


I often use Naver Dictionary to look-up Korean words. It usually offers a variety of meanings and example sentences to help get a feel for how words are used. The other day I noticed that in addition to their normal academic corpus sources and user contributed translations, they are now also tapping into their V Live fan community translations.

Here's an example page of looking up a common Korean word that's integral to the Korea experience but is a bit hard to translate into English: 답답하다

Screenshot of Naver Dictionary entry for 답답하다, with V Live fansub contributions circled. Image: Naver

You can see the top definitions there, including:
(숨이 막힐 듯이) stuffy, stifling, suffocating
이 방은 너무 답답하다This room feels very stuffy.View 4 more meanings : (숨이 막힐 듯이) stuffy, stifling, suffocating

But scroll down below those, and you get K-pop fan contributed translations, like:
답답하다.
What a fool.
아주 답답하다.Say that you feel suffocated.
누구야? - "너무 답답하다".Who is it? - "Looks too stuffy".
와, 진짜 답답하다. 뭐하냐...Wow, it's so stifling. What is he doing... 

Those V Live fansub examples come from real K-pop idol music videos or reality shows, which the fans have translated in those videos. Source links to those videos are provided. I should admit though that in this example, the "translator" for these videos all seemed to be an account called "VSUB_official" so although the fan submitted subs are real, it's possible Naver includes only "officially" done examples here. 

Here they are up close. You'll notice the artists and video titles listed below them.

V Live fansubs that included 답답하다 across multiple videos, as seen in Naver Dictionary results. Image: Naver 

If they really are pulling fan-submitted translations, I think this is a pretty clever move. Naver is making smart choices leveraging their big data these days. Naver always had a big demand for providing subtitles for their entertainment content. Naver's "V Live" (their K-pop focused music video and reality shows site, if that wasn't clear already), already opened videos up for everyday fans to provide English and other language subtitles for the Korean subbed content. I think it's pretty genius to then scrape that content and re-utilize it here in Naver Dictionary. 

Sure, the translations may not be 100% accurate (which Naver warns you about), but they compliment the more legitimate sources with various real-life and human-curated examples. 

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