Insider trading. Tax fraud. Tax evasion.
These things could get you ahead in business, but they’re also highly illegal.
That could get you ahead in business, and is completely legal.
Plus, rather than ending up in a cell, you could end up in Seoul—which is far superior in every imaginable sense.
While there are plenty of great reasons to learn Korean, none seems quite as appealingly profitable as learning Korean for business.
But be warned: While widely-available learning resources like Korean MOOCs and e-books for Korean learners can help you hit the ground running on your road to fluency, they often only briefly touch on the sort of Korean you’ll need to conduct business.
That’s why anyone looking to do business in Korea has some work to do.
First, you’ll need to read up on doing business in South Korea and Korean business etiquette. There are quite a few things you need to know to ensure you don’t offend anyone. For instance, you’ll probably want to learn how to bow correctly, how to provide or accept a business card (it’s not as simple as you’d think), how to properly use titles and more.
Once you have your etiquette down, the next step is to have the right language in your vocabulary, and that’s where the resources below come in.
If you want to do business in Korean, it’s time to learn business Korean and get your skills in gear!
But first, here are some more specific reasons why learning Korean for business is a great idea, just in case you’re not convinced yet.
Why Learn Business Korean?
First, learning business Korean is a great résumé builder. Even if you never actually need it for the position, a lot of employers will be duly impressed by your skills. After all, if you’re applying for an English-speaking job but just happen to know business Korean, employers will likely infer that you’re one smart cookie with a lot of other great skills to offer.
Plus, learning Korean can open up professional options. South Korea’s GDP (PPP) is estimated to be over two trillion dollars a year, making South Korea’s economy the world’s 15th largest. And with huge companies like Samsung and Hyundai based out of South Korea, it should come as no surprise that knowing Korean can certainly help prepare you for exciting positions that otherwise might not be available to you.
Finally, learning business Korean will help you better interact with Korean colleagues or business partners. While learning Korean slang might be a great tool to help you make friends, learning business Korean will enable you to engage with the proper level of formality needed for business. While many Koreans speak English, speaking Korean can help show respect and allow you to connect more deeply with them than if you only spoke English.
Let’s Get Down to Business! 6 Tools to Learn Business Korean
This might seem like an odd first option, but if you haven’t already studied Korean on YouTube, now is a great time to start, because there are tons of great videos on business Korean.
To get started, all you need is the right search terms. For instance, “business Korean” yields some incredibly helpful videos. You might also try “Korean business meeting” for a nice mixture of resources on language and culture.
One helpful resource is “10 Korean Phrases for Jobs and Work,” a short, fun video from Sweet and Tasty TV that makes learning a few basic phrases easy. Each phrase is slowly pronounced, so even complete beginners should be able to get down the pronunciation. The video also shows the Hangul spelling, a transliteration and the English meaning.
If you don’t have a lot of time, you can also check out shorter videos, like this one from Motivate Korean, which shows a business scenario in which one employee wants another to come see him. Then, the video dissects the phrase used, giving you the Hangul spelling, the phrase’s literal meaning and the actual translation.
You can also find videos on specific business subjects, like this video from KoreanClass101.com that focuses on teaching viewers about work culture and how to formally speak to your coworkers and boss in a way that’s appropriate.
Pretty great, right?
If you love learning Korean with YouTube videos, but wish there was a more organized way to go about it, you should try FluentU.
Here's a quick look at the variety of video choices available to you:
Each word in the interactive captions comes with a definition, audio, image, example sentences and more.
Access a complete interactive transcript of every video under the Dialogue tab, and easily review words and phrases from the video under Vocab.
Don't stop there, though. You can use FluentU’s unique quizzes to learn the vocabulary and phrases from the video through fun questions.
FluentU even tracks your progress and remembers all the words you've learned, making for a 100% personalized experience.
Review sessions use video context to help embed the words in your memory. The best part? You can access the full FluentU video library with a free trial!
Start using FluentU Korean on the website or download the app from the iTunes or Google Play store.
Additionally, you can subscribe to FluentU’s Korean YouTube channel to learn about the language and the culture in a fun and engaging way. In there, you’ll find useful content like the following video, which teaches you how to use honorifics like a native:
FluentU and FluentU’s Korean YouTube channel are all you need to learn Korean like a real businessperson. Subscribe today so that you don’t miss out on any of the new content!
Cactus Language Training
If you want an option that caters to your unique needs, Cactus Language Training has obvious appeal.
Cactus Language Training works with their clients to accommodate goals, time, level and budget.
Plus, courses come with a nice array of options. For instance, you can take courses face-to-face in London or via Skype. You can also participate in one of the immersion courses in Seoul.
Content is also flexible. Since lessons are catered to the client, this means that you can focus on industry-specific vocabulary.
And since Cactus Language Training aims to help students use the language right away, you should be able to hit the ground running rather than having to wait months to actually speak Korean.
You need special material for your industry. You need a specific training format to fit your needs. In that case, you might need Communicaid.
Communicaid is all about flexibility. If you prefer in-person training, Communicaid has training centers in New York, London, Paris, Brussels and Frankfurt. If your company wants to train multiple people, you might even consider bringing in someone to train you in-house. If in-person training isn’t feasible, Communicaid also offers virtual or blended learning formats.
They offer training 365 days a year and can even accommodate training outside of normal business hours.
Course content is designed to be industry-focused, so it can cover diverse fields, like finance, business, law and diplomacy. Courses aim to teach you valuable business skills, including telephone skills, email skills, presentation skills and more.
Independent learners rejoice! KoreanClass101.com offers a whopping 25 lessons on business Korean.
Designed for beginning students, these lessons feature over five hours of audio, covering important skills like introducing yourself or others, greeting your Korean boss, going to client meetings, chatting with coworkers, apologizing and more.
With a free account, which you can sign up for on their website, you’ll have access to the audio lessons. A paid account opens up additional learning materials for these lessons and others, like vocabulary lists and lesson notes.
“Essential Korean for Business Use”
Sometimes, a book is useful. It’s nice to have all the information you need in one book you can casually peruse on the plane without having to pay for WiFi. This is how “Essential Korean for Business Use” comes in handy.
“Essential Korean for Business Use” aims to provide Korean students of all levels (provided you already know Hangul) with valuable expressions that they’ll need in business interactions.
Topics covered include office machines, meetings, phone calls, customer service, negotiations and more. The book also aims to familiarize readers with Korean culture, so it’s a convenient way to build your language and etiquette skills simultaneously.
Quizlet is a free website where users can submit their own study sets. Then, Quizlet provides great learning tools to help users study.
Luckily for anyone learning business Korean, another user has already created a study set to help you along.
In the study set linked above, you can look over a vocabulary list (complete with audio pronunciations), use flashcards, take quizzes and play games. There are a total of 43 terms, including words related to the stock market, sales and more.
Once you’ve learned all this study set has to offer, you might also try creating your own to improve your business Korean even more.
So if you’re looking for a fun and totally legal way to get ahead in business, check out these six productive resources for learning business Korean.
If you liked this post, something tells me that you'll love FluentU, the best way to learn Korean with real-world videos.