Thursday, June 18, 2015

Facebook Pokes in Korean

I think Koreans utilize the "Poke" feature of Facebook more than most Westerners do*. The "poke" was always a sort of cute, shy, flirty, 애교 sort of feature anyway. But let "Pokes" be a lesson in never quite trusting online translators.

In Korean, a Facebook "poke" is called 콕 찔리다, a literal translation of "to be poked", from 찌르다 (to poke, prick, prod, jab) and (the sound/feeling/action of a light poke, like 콕콕콕 Ramen, named for the holes you're meant to poke in the lid).

Here's an example of when someone "pokes" you on Facebook when your language is set to Korean:

ABC님이 회원님을 연속해서 5번 콕 찔렀습니다!
👉 나도 콕 찔러보기
ABC poked you 5 times in a row!
(just now)
👉 Poke them back
Here's the funny part. If you saw someone on Facebook talking about this, and you didn't know exactly what this meant, and you tried to translate it online, you'd see this, and perhaps have a very different idea of what is going on here:

Yes, Google translates 콕 찔렀습니다 as "pierced cock". And it gets worse if you try translating the whole chunk at once:
ABC님이 회원님을 연속해서 5번 콕 찔렀습니다!
나도 콕 찔러보기

ABC's This cock was stabbed five times in succession you!
view stabbing cock

I'm not a big fan of stabs in the cock. Google is probably translating 콕 in one of two ways:
  1. the sound itself, spoken "cock/coke" in Korean. Recall this unfortunate instructor. Or
  2. 'cock' as in a badminton shuttlecock. I always chuckle when walking through the sporting goods aisle.

So feel free to "poke" your Korean friends with abandon. Just don't get any weird ideas if they respond that they want to 찔러 your 콕.

* The screenshot I used here is from a (Korean) coworker, who didn't have any "single poke" notifications. He had exchanged pokes with people 5 (the screenshot I used), 12, 23, and 67 times in a row. Apparently they just continually poke each other back and forth when reading the poke notification. Now that's dedication. I don't think I've ever poked anyone in my life, at least not on Facebook. 

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