Engineer Publishing a Dictionary
A Hanyang alumni publishing Cambodian-Korean dictionary with self-taught Cambodian
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Living in a country where you do not speak the language can be one of the most challenging things in the world. There is a proud Hanyangian who overcame the difficulty and even made a dictionary of the foreign language. Kim Woo-taek (Department of Automotive Engineering, '02) published ‘Cambodian-Korean- English Korean-Cambodian- English Dictionary’ which contains more than 40,000 vocabularies in September 2014.
First person in the world to publish Korean-Cambodian dictionary
“I never dared to make a dictionary from the beginning,” said Kim. Coming to Cambodia without speaking the language, he had to study hard to communicate with the locals. As private education was not an option at the moment, Kim chose to learn the language by himself and started reading newspapers. Kim symbolized the letters in his head while reading the paper. “I still get some pronunciations wrong because I learned the langauge through reading”, reminisced Kim. After a while, he was able to read documents without having to look for dictionaries. He kept notes on the vocabularies he does not know while studying in such way, and his notes became a valuable asset in publishing the dictionary.
One day, he wanted to make a good use of all the data he has. He visited every bookstore in Cambodia and bought 20 dictionaries, then typed them page by page for four years. It took much longer than his initial estimation, but with passion he invested his nights in the work. For a person who has no professional background knowledge, it was not easy to match Korean and Cambodian dictionaries with the accurate nuances. One of the most arduous works in the progress was writing pronunciations of Cambodian words in Korean because the two languages are phonetically different.
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