Master These 10 Korean Business Words Effortlessly

Original blog post:

Have you seen Itaewon Class? In business, there are countless failures before success. But first, let’s start learning some Korean business words 사업 (saeop).

A successful business requires one simple thing: passion. This is a quote from Teresa Collins, which is really important in business. South Korea’s business culture is not new to the rest of the world. They are known for their smartphones, beauty products, and of course, Korean food. These products made other people from different parts of the world familiar with Korean culture.

Today, we can say that South Korea is really making an effort to level up its business not just locally but internationally. However, aside from their business skills, what makes Korean successful is their ability to make connections and business relationships, and do that, they should have meaningful conversations. So, if you are planning to start a business in South Korea, one of the first things to consider is learning some Korean business words. Here’s a short blog/ lesson to help you.

Korean Business Culture & Etiquette

Before learning Korean business words, let’s first take a look at South Koreans’ business culture and etiquette.

It is not new to us that Koreans really value politeness. It is really important in Korean culture. Korean culture is steeped in Confucianism. Respect for age, authority, and education is therefore very essential in Korea. So, you must familiarize yourself with business etiquette to avoid being rude as a sign of respect. Here are some Korean business etiquettes that you should practice when you’re working on a business in South Korea.

  1. In Korea, hierarchy affects all types of social interactions. In Korean society, respect for position and age is essential. So, if someone is in a higher position than you in the business world, using a formal way of speech is required.
  2. Bowing and handshaking are not just for greeting. It is also a form of respect. A deep bow will always be initiated by the junior. To recognize the welcome and respect expressed, the elderly person will bow gently.
  3. Gift-giving is a means of expressing the value of relationships. Koreans also have their own traditions when it comes to gifts. For example, gifts should be wrapped in yellow or red colors. Using red ink when signing a card is a big no.
  4. In addressing someone in the business world, It is preferable to use the surname followed by an honorific.
  5. Dresscode is very important in Koreans. The emphasis on conformity rather than unique expression is emphasized in business clothing.
  6. In Korea, building relationships is an important component of doing business.
  7. Maintaining a face is really important. Koreans strive to maintain a harmonious environment in which a person’s kibun (mood or inner feelings) can remain balanced through their social etiquette and behavior.
  8. Dining is essential in Korean business culture. Always accept dinner invites because this is the Korean’s chance to determine your dependability and whether or not they want to do business with you.

How To Say Business In Korean Language?

사업 (Saeop)

The first business word we should is, of course, the word ‘business’ itself. The Korean word for business is 사업 (Saeop). You can also hear업 (sangeop) and 영업 (yeongeop) but there’s not much difference.

Why Learn Business Korean?

If you are planning to enter business in Korean, learning business Korean is a must. It is not optional because if you are a foreigner, there’s a lot of things to learn and discover more than just investments and business partners. In Korean business settings, building relationships is very important. If you learn business Korean, you can harness your professional career. You can use it when you meet your Korean business partner, in business meetings, and even in the dining. Even in simple business card giving, you need to know business Korean.

Remember, if you know how to make meaningful connections through communicating with people, you’re one step ahead of your game. If you want to learn Korean business words, check them out below.

Basic Korean Business Vocabulary

Planning to enter or build a Korean company? Make sure to bring these Korean business words with you:

회사 (Hoesa)

English Translation: Company

Did you know that South Korea is the 4th largest economy in Asia? With that being said, Korea plays a big role in world exports. Some of the largest Korean companies are Samsung Electronics, Hyundai Motor, POSCO, Kia Motors, and LG Chem. I know you’re familiar with lots of them which proves that South Kore can make a company (회사 | Hoesa) big.

사업가 (Saeopga)

English Translation: Entrepreneur

If you have seen the K-drama “Start-Up” you’ll see that many aspiring Korean entrepreneurs (사업가 | Saeopga) are interested in starting their own start-up. Rather than working for a Korean firm, an increasing number of Koreans are aspiring to be entrepreneurs. The success of numerous Korean entrepreneurs who have found significant success in Korea’s startup business is one of the key reasons behind this. Some of the top Korean entrepreneurs are Sophie Kim, Joey Kim, JH Kim, and Daniel Shin.

종업원 (Jongeobwon)

English Translation: Employees

The next Korean business is employees (종업원 | Jongeobwon) word we will learn in K-Dramas does not fail to reflect what kind of employees (종업원 | Jongeobwon) they have in different types of industry. Remove the charming characteristics of leading characters Korean employees are still very impressive.

Because they have their values that should be maintained at all times, you can expect professionalism and good quality of work just like what “Itaewon Class” portrays. Remember? Park Saeroyi (owner of Danbam Pub) hired different types of employees such as transgender, a Guinean character who came to Korea, and an ex-convict and frat member. This is proof that Koreans also value the diversity of their employees.

고객 (Gogaek)

English Translation: Customer

We cannot talk about business words in Korean without learning the word for the customer (고객 | Gogaek). Customers’ behavior in South Korea has been similar to that of customers in industrialized nations. Korea’s consumers are tech-savvy and conscious about brand names.

상품 (Sangpum)

English Translation: Product

South Koreans are trendsetters. We cannot deny that fact. Even when you watched their K-dramas, there are certain products that they somehow endorse like the Kopiko candy and Domino’s Pizza in “Hometown Cha-cha-cha”, Krispy Kreme, and in “Record of Youth”, and Samsung phones in almost all the K-dramas (except for the traditional ones).

Their products have an established trademark ( 상표 | sangpyo) which makes them unique. Other products can be too pricey so if you are planning to shop in Korea, look for items that are on sale (판매 | panmae)

광고 (Gwanggo)

English Translation: Advertisement

BTS topped the Billboard chart, Blackpink’s Rosé, Jennie, and Jisoo had their fashion experiences, K-dramas like Crash Landing on You ruled Netflix. With these influences, no wonder that South Koreans are really trended setters. In business, advertising your product is a crucial part of your success.

When we say advertisement in Korean, face representation has a huge impact. The clothes, cosmetics, and accessories worn and advertised by actors and actresses in TV series are frequently in high demand among South Korean customers. Brands are seen as a representation of one’s image and are utilized to reflect one’s social position in South Korea.

고객 지원 (Gogaek Jiwon)

English Translation: Customer Support

If you conduct business, having strong customer support is important. It will establish a good impression on the customers. In business nowadays, people rely on reviews they mostly find online before buying products. Aside from reviews, they also rely on the responsiveness of customer support when they have inquiries especially in phone calls and on websites. This is the reason why you really have to learn Korean business words and phrases.

월급 (Wolgeup)

English Translation: Salary

Did you know that South Korea has a Minimum Wage Commission which determines the minimum wage of workers every year? In 2021, the minimum wage of an employee is 8,720 won per hour which is equivalent to 1,822,420 won monthly. Every month, they work at a minimum of 209 hours. Some related Korean business words about salary are annual salary (연봉 | yeonbong), monthly salary (월급 | wolgeup).

투자 (Tuja)

English Translation: Investment

The first episode of the K-drama “Start-up” is about the struggle of an entrepreneur finding an investor. Soon, that also became the problem of Samsan Tech headed by Nam Do San. This just means that investments (투자 | Tuja) are really important in businesses. You might want to check the website of Invest Korea, which aids international businesses in entering and doing business in Korea.

Other Common Korean Business Words And Phrases

After learning some basic Korean business words, let’s learn more essential Korean words. Here is a vocabulary list to learn.

Korean Business Words For Types Of Business

Korean Business Words For Jobs Position

Korean Business Words For Types Of Companies

Korean Business Words For Business Departments

Interact With Business Partners And Coworkers

Interacting with your Korean colleagues is essential in the workplace. A team that has a strong bond works productively which leads to achieving goals effectively.

Here are some common Korean business phrases that you might be needed in the business world like answering phone calls, attending business meetings, and other business situations.

Speak Korean Like A Pro! Learn With Ling App Now!

Did you know that learning different languages can give you an edge when you’re applying for an international company? With South Korea being one of the largest economies in Asia, why not learn Korean? If this will be your first time learning Korean, Ling App can be your perfect study buddy.

Ling App can provide you with a fun and meaningful language learning experience. Take note, Ling App has spaced repetition and gamification system that is really essential for language learners. It is backed with linguistic research and it uses a variety of topics with images and audio recordings to support your learning.

It’s time for you to level up your Korean language skills. Have a good first impression of meeting your boss in Korea. Learn Korean with Ling App now!

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