|FSS Gov. Choi Soo-hyun|
More than 1,300 people applied in April to serve as telephone translators for BBB Korea, an institution specializing in free 24-hour Korean-English telephone translation services. Of the 431 applicants offering their time to serve, was Choi Soo-hyun, the governor of the Financial Supervisory Service.
Becoming a volunteer translator may not be the most eventful occurence in the FSS head’s life, but his candidacy for such a position reckons an explanation. A recipient of a bachelor’s degree from Seoul National University in biology education in 1981, Choi credits his 40-year relationship with The Korea Herald as one of the most important reasons in rising to BBB Korea’s calling.
“I started reading The Korea Herald for an obvious reason. I needed to improve my English,” says the 57-year-old Choi bluntly.
“I needed to use the language in order to become at least a seasoned conversationalist. Reading a newspaper seemed to me the simplest solution to my problem.”
Choi, however, does not cull favorites. He tries to remain neutral, perhaps for the sake of his position as the financial sector’s chief watchdog. “I read both the serious and the relatively less serious articles. Annie’s Mailbox and the editorials all interest me.”
The final moral of the story is not so, though. “Every day counts in this business. Foreign languages are tough because they are foreign, so there is only one way out. You have to keep practicing the language every day.
“I thought a steady reading of articles and editorials in the newspaper would help me form correct English expressions and polish my sentences. That’s why I subscribed to The Korea Herald,” he said.
Choi added that one of his favorite methods was looking at newspaper articles on his morning bus rides to work.
“Nowadays I am chauffeured to work, but back then, I used to cut interesting articles of The Korea Herald to carry in my pocket and read as often as possible on public transportation. That’s the oldest and surest method that worked for me.”
By Jeong Hunny (email@example.com