Korean Corporate Titles



In this article, Korean corporate titles are explained and translated into English.


In the Korean business culture, people almost always address one another on a last-name basis, and an honorific job title follows a person’s last name. This is true even for co-workers in the same office and whether the communication is a face-to-face conversation or in writing.

For example, a Korean sentence in an e-mail may read:

"Shim Moo Jin Sang Moo is expected to meet Jung Jin Woo Jun Moo at the airport".

In this hard-to-read sentence, “Sang Moo” and “Jun Moo” are corporate titles; Shim and Jung are surnames.

Incidentally, we at Enunce will write the translation as follows to enhance readability:

“Moo-Jin SHIM (“Sang Moo”) is expected to meet Jin-Woo JUNG (“Jun Moo”) at the airport.”


What do "Sang Moo" and "Jun Moo", etc. mean literally?



Table 1: English Translation of Korean Corporate titles

This table has English translations of job titles that appear in Korean articles of incorporation. Due to differences in corporate cultures, the titles may not have exact English counterparts.

Korean Title Pronunciation Literal Meaning
of the Term
English Translation
of the Term
Some Korean companies are adopting more Westernized styles in translating the titles of their officers into English. Shown in this column is one set of examples; there can be many other variations.
회장 Hoe Jang Hoe (회) = Board
Jang (장) = Chief
Chair of the Board Chairman / Chairwoman
부회장 Boo Hoe Jang Boo (부 ) = Vice
Hoe (회) = Board
Jang (장) = Chief
Vice Chair of the Board Vice Chairman /
Vice Chairwoman
사장 Sa Jang Sa (사) = Company
Jang (장) = Chief
President President or CEO
대표이사 Dae Pyo Ee Sa Dae Pyo (대표) = “Representative” (in the sense that this person is legally responsible for the company - often the same individual as “Sa Jang”)

Ee Sa (이사)= Director
No English equivalent;
May correspond to President or CEO
President or CEO
전무
(abbreviation of
전무이사)
Jun Moo
(full title:
Jun Moo Ee Sa)
Jun (전) = All
Moo (무) = Duty, Affairs, In Charge
Ee Sa (이사)= Director
Roughly, “Director in charge of all aspects of the company” Senior Managing Director
상무
(abbreviation of
상무이사)
Sang Moo
(full title:
Sang Moo Ee Sa)
Sang (상) = Routine, Always
Moo (무) = Duty, Affairs, In Charge
Ee Sa (이사)= Director
Roughly, “Director in charge of routine matters of the company” Managing Director
이사 Ee Sa Ee Sa (이사)= Director Director Director
고문 Go Moon Go Moon (고문) = Advisor Advisor Advisor

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Table 2: Korean Translations of English Corporate Titles

C-level corporate titles used in English-speaking countries have no direct, literal counterparts in Korean articles of incorporation. C-level titles are sometimes translated literally into Korean (as shown in the second column of this table) or more flexibly (as in the last column), depending on the context.

English Title Literal
Korean Translation
Pronunciation
and Meaning
of the Literal Translation
To reflect the cultural difference, some companies may choose to translate the term as follows.
CEO 최고경영자 최고 (Choe Go) = Highest, Chief
경영 (Gyung Young) = Management
자 (Ja) = Person
사장 (Sa Jang)
or
대표이사 (Dae Pyo Ee Sa)
CFO 최고재무책임자 최고 (Choe Go) = Highest, Chief
재무 (Jae Moo) = Financial Matters
책임자 (Chaek Im Ja) = Person Responsible
전무 (Jun Moo)
or
상무 (Sang Moo)
COO 최고운영책임자 최고 (Choe Go) = Highest, Chief
운영 (Woon Young) = Operation
책임자 (Chaek Im Ja) = Person Responsible
전무 (Jun Moo)
or
상무 (Sang Moo)
CTO 최고기술책임자 최고 (Choe Go) = Highest, Chief
기술 (Gi Sool) = Technology
책임자 (Chaek Im Ja) = Person Responsible



Table 3: Non-Executive Titles (Korean to English Translation)

Korean Title Pronunciation Literal Meaning
of the Term
Possible
English Translation
of the Term
부장 Boo Jang Boo (부) = Division, Department, Section
Jang (장) = Chief
Division Head
차장 Cha Jang Cha (차) = Vice; Deputy
Jang (장) = Chief
Vice Head of a Division
과장 Gwa Jang Gwa (과) = a unit smaller than a “Boo”
Jang (장) = Chief
Head of a Unit
대리 Dae Ree The term “Dae Ree” literally means "deputy". When used as a stand-alone title without a qualifier, it is simply a rank, often lower than “Gwa Jang”.
계장 Gye Jang Gye (계) = a unit often smaller than a "Gwa"
Jang (장) = Chief
Roughly “Team Leader”





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