5 In Apps to download in Korea/ Korean Content/ Korean learning journey (:

[Korean App Review] GenieTalk Korean-English Translation App

Woke up and saw this tweet and decided that I have to review the app first thing in the morning. 😀

The app is supposedly aimed at both international visitors of Korea and also Koreans themselves. And I’m like uh oh, why can’t you concentrate on ONE target group instead of trying to do both… *trying to be positive*

As I was downloading it, I tried to remain positive. Translation app. It’s one of those apps that could be either terribly useless or very useful. And so far, most that I’ve seen were terribly useless.

First, I tried out the app in English (from the point of the international visitor). Sorry, the screenshot was taken before I changed language (the interface will be in English).

The interface itself was pretty cool and quite user friendly. I like it. You can either input text or voice and it’s convenient.

To be honest, the voice recognition system was pretty good and I had no problems with it. I do like the fact that you can choose between a male or female speaker. I know that it’s still very hard at this stage to come up with a translation app that is 100% accurate, so I’m looking more at functionality. Can it actually convey whatever I want to say to a Korean and still be understandable? 

Well… kinda. Not too bad.

If you click on each speech bubble, you can see a few other related translation results. I think the app does best in fixed tourist-related topics. And in this sense, it’s better than a travel phrasebook.

I have no idea why there is a separate section for everyday conversation. But it looks usable too.

Let’s test it further, shall we?

Maybe the app should include things like common food in Korea. And I checked. ‘Soy bean past stew’ is translated as 콩 페이스트 수튜. LOL

Oh well, I’m asking too much right?

I guess one should really type in the most simple way. Being polite gives you a very strange translation. Although still understandable.. I guess? >.<

And the 3rd one. OMG. CAN THEY SIMPLY REMOVE 당신 AND INFORMAL SPEECH from the app?

I see 당신 and I’m like… SIGH. ㅠㅠ Not again.

Decided to test out the app in Korean (from the point of a Korean) and saw this. -.-

‘Enjoy communicating with foreigners using GenieTalk’

Erm okay. First, there is a lot of emphasis on vocabulary memorization, TOEIC scores and now Koreans are encouraged to talk to foreigners with a translation app?

I give up.

‘The age of ten million foreigners in Korea’? It sounds like they made use of their own app to create this help page.

Mmmmm. You be the judge.



NO ENGLISH!!!!!!!! o.O

Overall, I think that this app is more helpful to international visitors of Korea, rather than Koreans themselves. Even then, it’s more suitable for foreigners who are on short trips to the country and are not really interested in learning the language. It’s a good thing to use if you need desperate help, especially if you are out of Seoul or something.

Even then, you need to exercise some caution and make sure that the Korean you are speaking to knows that you are using this app. If not, you may sound really rude if things like 당신 comes out. 당신 is a term used normally between husband and wife and also at times when you are arguing with someone. (kinda).

I think the app would have done a better job if it tries to target just the foreigners first, instead of going for both groups. I won’t be that harsh on the app, knowing how difficult it is for machine translation to be really accurate at this stage. But still… 당신?? NOOO.

Download the app just in case if you are travelling to Korea with no knowledge of the language. But please, do not try to learn Korean from it!


p.s. if you can read Korean, you will see that Koreans themselves gave pretty negative reviews on the app store. lol.

Since the app is in trial mode now, I hope it will get better. It still has the potential to be useful.. to international visitors ^^

What do you think?

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  • Reply
    23 October, 2012 at 11:37 AM

    haha, what about the one before ‘No English’:

    저는 영어 못해요/I only speak English !?!?!?!?!!

    I think you’d be able to communicate more easily just flailing your arms around and pointing at things…….

    • Reply
      23 October, 2012 at 1:17 PM

      It’s too painful to point it out. :/ haha yeah, it’s a safer way of communication. At least you won’t get glares from the 너 and 당신s

  • Reply
    John Peter
    24 October, 2012 at 7:59 PM

    “How I speak in English?” hahaha

    It’s an interesting app though!

  • Reply
    26 October, 2012 at 7:38 AM

    “A brother will buy”?!

    I’m sorry, but… a brother will buy?!?!

    Imagine getting hit on by this really cute guy on the streets. He whips out his Samsung Galaxy, pounds furiously on the keypad and Eureka. Figures out what he’s gonna say. Then he looks at you with smouldering eyes and goes…

    “A brother… will buy.”


    • Reply
      26 October, 2012 at 10:28 AM

      HAHAHAHA!! I’m imagining the scene ><;;;

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