Korean Translation Services


Korean Corporate Titles

In this article, we will explain the meanings of some of the widely used Korean corporate titles and translate them to English. At the bottom of this article, we will also show job title translations in the reverse direction (from English to Korean).

In a business setting in Korea, people address each other on a last-name basis, and a job title follows a person’s last name. This is true even for co-workers in the same office and regardless of whether the communication is face-to-face or in writing.

For example, a Korean sentence in an e-mail message may be translated as:

"Shim Moo Jin Sang Moo will be waiting for Jung Jin Woo Jun Moo at the airport."

Since this translation is nearly impossible to comprehend, we will write it in a slightly different way. To help English speakers, the syllables in a Korean given name will be linked with a hyphen (although hyphens are not always used when Koreans write their names in English); job titles will be put into brackets; and surnames will be written in capital letters and moved to the last position of the name (as in English).

"Moo-Jin SHIM (Sang Moo) will be waiting for Jin-Woo JUNG (Jun Moo) at the airport."

The sentence is now easier to read. But, what do the job titles, “Sang Moo” and “Jun Moo”, mean?


Korean Corporate Titles Translated into English

This table shows Korean executive titles, some of which you may have seen in the business cards or e-mail signatures of your Korean business acquaintances. Due to the differences in laws and corporate cultures between Korea and English-speaking countries, these titles may not have exact English counterparts.



Korean Title Pronunciation Literal Meaning English
Translation
회장 "Hoe Jang" Hoe (회) = Board
Jang (장) = Chief
Chairman / Chairwoman of the Board
부회장 "Boo Hoe Jang" Boo (부 ) = Vice
Hoe (회) = Board
Jang (장) = Chief
Vice Chairman / Vice Chairwoman of the Board
사장 "Sah Jang" Sah (사) = Company
Jang (장) = Chief
President or CEO
대표이사 "Dae Pyo Ee Sa" Dae Pyo (대표) = This word is often translated as “representative". The Korean word means the "head" of a group, not a "delegate" or a company "rep".

Ee Sa (이사)= Director

"Dae Pyo Ee Sa" is often the same individual as “Sah Jang”
No English equivalent; Corresponds to President or CEO
전무
(short form of
전무이사)
"Jun Moo"
(short form of
"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”

As this position has no English counterpart, it can be translated in different ways, depending on the company’s preference. For example, its translation could be “Senior Managing Director” or some other variations.
상무
(short form of
상무이사)
"Sang Moo"
(short form of
"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”

As this position has no English counterpart, it can be translated in different ways, depending on the company’s preference. For example, its translation could be “Managing Director” or some other variations.
이사 "Ee Sa" Ee Sa (이사)= Director Director
고문 "Go Moon" Go Moon (고문) = Advisor Advisor



Non-Executive Titles

Korean Title Pronunciation Literal Meaning
of the Term
Possible
English Translation
The unit involved (Boo, Gwa, etc.) can be translated as “Division”, "Department", “Section” or some other variations.
부장 Boo Jang Boo (부) = Division, Department, Section
Jang (장) = Chief
Department / Section Head
차장 Cha Jang Cha (차) = Vice; Deputy
Jang (장) = Chief
Vice Head of a Department / Section
과장 Gwa Jang Gwa (과) = a unit smaller than a “Boo”
Jang (장) = Chief
Department / Section Head
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”. (No English Equivalent)
계장 Gye Jang Gye (계) = a unit often smaller than a "Gwa"
Jang (장) = Chief
Section Head / Team Leader
팀장 "Team" Jang 팀 (the sound of the English word "Team" written in Korean)
Jang (장) = Chief
Team Leader


English Corporate Titles Translated into Korean


C-level job titles used in English-speaking countries do not match with the concepts of the Korean job titles that appear in Korean articles of incorporation or company charters (perhaps with the exception of CEO, which can be thought of as an equivalent of “Dae Pyo Ee Sa” or “Sah Jang”). There is a near consensus in Korea that what is shown in the second column of the table is the best way to translate the C-level English titles into Korean (each is a literal rendering of the three words in the title).


English Title Korean Translation Pronunciation
and Meaning
of the Translation
Acceptable Alternative Translation
CEO 최고경영자 최고 (Choe Go) = Highest, Chief
경영 (Gyung Young) = Management
자 (Ja) = Person
사장 (Sah 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
COO 최고운영책임자 최고 (Choe Go) = Highest, Chief
운영 (Woon Young) = Operation
책임자 (Chaek Im Ja) = Person Responsible
CTO 최고기술책임자 최고 (Choe Go) = Highest, Chief
기술 (Gi Sool) = Technology
책임자 (Chaek Im Ja) = Person Responsible