“Hello!” “안녕!” “When are we going out for dinner?” “언제 우리 저녁 먹으러 가니?”

Today, I discovered a new official account on Japanese chat app LINE. There is something so valuable and useful about translating sentences within a single chat app, and then sending messages on that same app, that beats entering Google Translate, convert the text, copying the translated version, and opening up an app to type it into a chat box. LINE also allows users to forward messages from one chat to another, as long as the recipient is a friend on the network.

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The official account, ENG-KOR translator, is new, but LINE had previously launched two other official accounts for CHINESE-JAPANESE and ENG-JAPANESE translation purposes.

Although LINE is available on desktop platforms, I believe that most of its users will rather use the tool on the mobile platform instead. If you see, translation on a phone is not a great experience, what with going to Google translate, pasting the text, copying the translated content and going back to the chat app. All the switching between pages is a turn off. But with the web it is easier. However, this LINE feature makes translation much more mobile-friendly.

While testing the official account with a Korean friend of mine, he shared that the language in itself is a bit tricky, as there are polite and casual versions of saying or writing certain things. However, I do think that such cultural challenges can only be picked up by human translation, like Conyac and Fliplingo.

In terms of official accounts, Singaporean telco StarHub is one example of a great company that uses social media to reach out to its key audience. With a timeline feature, StarHub has been able to post humorous memes and comics which relate to its cable TV offerings. By using a niche offering to target a smaller but more engaged crowd, Rakuten, too, has been able to send direct messages to users and post on their timelines like StarHub.

On the other hand, while checking for similar apps for such a service, there does not seem to be any of the sort on WeChat or KakaoTalk.