Sunday, December 21, 2008

Crap That I Won't Miss: Korean Websites with "English" Pages

Usually, most Korean business websites have their main site in Korean. This is what all businesses do, so no complaints here. If you're doing business in Korea, of course, the language you're going to use is Korean. However, what's funny is usually their English sites are all investor information (and most of the time it's written so poorly and has so little detail that I seriously wonder who invests based on that scant information). On those pages the companies the products and services but very few companies actually bother to put in links for English speaking customers living in Korea. There are some exceptions. Last I checked, LG Telecom had both. An investor page but with a bit of consumer information which helps their English speaking customers here in Korea, including their foreign language help line, which is excellent. I think for most companies they think it's easier to just ignore the small number of English speaking customers they have in the country and only pay attention to people with money to invest. For the English speaking customers the attitude is let them find a Korean to help them out and be done with it.

After a certain amount of time, people learn enough of the language to meander through the Korean version of the site to find what they want. At least, that's been the case for me. However, it's still annoying. This morning I needed to download the HWP viewer for the Korean Word program (yes, it's a word processing program written and sold by Haansoft, a South Korean software company.) I started using a new desktop computer when I got back from vacation in late February. I'd not needed it until today.

I've done this many times before because I've had about three or four computers since I've lived here and I've had computers in my office. Sometimes those computers came preloaded with what I needed, but most of the time they didn't. The viewer is like Adobe Acrobat Reader. It allows you to read documents written with this software and that's key here. Lots of times the Korean writing the document doesn't even stop to think that you've got Microsoft Word and not Korean Word, so yeah...problem. But it's one that's easily solved once you know about this reader. However, the site with software and downloads is all in Korean. They don't even bother to subtitle the download link in English. I muddled through and found it. I also found a good blog link that explains where to find it. So those of you looking for it, here it is.

HWP viewer from Haansoft -- For reading documents in Hangeul

I finally found that hwp viewer again. I'd managed to find it about a year ago, but then the link went dead or just stopped working . . . it would download 3/4ths of the way and then just hang.

Now, here it is:


Unfortunately, for those of you who cannot read Korean (Hangeul) the site has no English. Okay, not precisely true -- in fact they do have English on the website but they don't offer the download for their free viewer -- they only offer investor info. Also, as seems to be the rule in Korea, you cannot link directly to anything in Haansoft's website -- it's all smoke and mirrors using Adobe Flash. It did work for me in the Google Chrome browser however, which was a bit surprising.

Above you can see a screenshot of the website. Hover over the 'Download' button and then click on the 'Viewer' button then you'll see the name of the download with the small image of a floppy disk that you need to click to download -- it's about 50 MB -- worked fine on my Windows Vista.


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