Naver adds Korean honorific feature to its Papago AI translation app

Naver has added a Korean honorific feature to its Papago artificial intelligence (AI) translation app to allow foreigners to "communicate more accurately".
Written by Cho Mu-Hyun, Contributing Writer

Naver has added a Korean honorific feature to its translation app to allow foreigners to communicate more accurately in South Korea, the company has announced.

Users of Papago can now turn on or off the honorific mode that will be at the bottom of the app after they perform a English translation.

The Korean language has honorific versions that are spoken to elders or strangers -- much like how tu and vous are used in different social situations for French -- that affects verb conjugation, adjectives, and pronouns.

Previously, regular speech and honorifics were conflated but users will now be presented with the correct regular translation as well as the honorific translation for texts over 2 sentences long, the South Korean internet giant said.

Naver said it will collect data from honorific translations to further improve its quality. It may later add the feature to other languages besides English, depending on demand.

AI has been extensively applied to speakers and translation apps in South Korea, with SK Telecom adding Hancom's AI translation app GenieTalk to its AI speaker NUGU.

Meanwhile, KT has installed AI speakers in local hotels to help foreigners.

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