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Interpreters and translators, the driving force behind Coupang

minute read


Coupang’s interpretation/translation teams are the hidden driving force that helps other teams achieve the best teamwork by removing all language barriers. We've met with two translators to hear what it's like to work as a translator at Coupang.

Hello. Please introduce yourself and describe your job at Coupang.

Irene: Hello, my name is Irene and I’m working as a translator in the Growth Marketing Interpreters and Translators team (GMIT). Since I joined Coupang, my role has been to translate emails and documents produced within the organizations to help all team members communicate effectively.

Chan: Hello, I’m Chan. I work as a translator in Marketplace Interpreters and Translators (MPIT). My role is to translate documents and emails communicated between Korean and non-Korean employees and help them fully function without facing the language barrier.

Tell us more about the business teams you support.

Irene: GMIT provides interpretation and translation support for not only Growth Marketing but also Coupang Media Group and Coupang Live Group. Growth Marketing is an organization that conducts marketing activities for Coupang services on a variety of channels. Coupang Media Group helps vendors sell products on Coupang run ads on the Coupang platform to boost their sales. Lastly, Coupang Live Group runs a business that supports the promotion and sale of products on Coupang through live commerce. Our team provides these organizations with interpretation and translation support that can connect all the work processes seamlessly.

Chan: As the team's name describes itself, MPIT provides Marketplace organization with interpretation and translation services. Compared to the business of Coupang purchasing and selling products directly, Marketplace provides sellers with a platform where they sell products under their own name and brand. Marketplace consists of sales teams to bring sellers onto Coupang platform, tech teams to develop systems for sellers to leverage the platform efficiently, and seller support teams to save sellers inconveniences and obtain feedback from them, and I help the teams easily communicate with each other.

Coupang is Korea’s leading e-commerce company and known to recognize the importance of interpretation/translation, so many interpreters/translators are interested in Coupang. What are the advantages of working as an interpreter/translator in Coupang?

Irene: Coupang is a fast-growing company. Within the organizations our team supports, things are changing fast. So, we need to fully grasp what is changing and how things are changing to accommodate various translation requests we receive. I think it is attractive that you can always learn something new at Coupang, not being complacent because you joined Coupang and already got used to the assigned tasks. In addition, working with other interpreters and translators as a team is another advantage of working as a translator in Coupang you can’t get elsewhere.

Chan: Coupang is innovative and unafraid of changes, and anyone with the will can lead the changes. This is also the case with translators. Translators can figure out and implement processes to improve the speed and efficiency of communication. Also, Coupang’s horizontal and open environment allows everyone to actively put forward ideas, irrespective of age, prior work experience, years of working, or other external factors.

Before the outbreak of COVID-19, Coupang ensures that employees are free from conventional work hours and places. In Coupang, employees schedule their work hours flexibly and work from home, and this further improves their work efficiency.

Interpreters/translators play various roles in Coupang. What are the advantages of your roles?

Irene: As Coupang is a global company with offices around the globe, employees use different languages, and translators translate various emails and documents to help all employees quickly and clearly communicate with each other. In this respect, I believe the biggest advantage of working as a Coupang translator is that we can understand what employees from all parts of the world are doing and share their visions to expand businesses with specific goals as a team in the long term.

Chan: Coupang is full of creativity and innovation. Accordingly, translators address diverse topics. As well as e-commerce, we translate text on different topics every day. Thus, we obtain in-depth knowledge and terminologies about domestic and overseas businesses of various kinds.

Please describe Coupang’s working environment for interpreters/translators.

Chan: Translators concentrate on translation without providing an interpretation service, and everyone appreciates the roles and responsibilities of translators. Coupang interpreters and translators are grouped into different teams supporting each domain. One interpretation/translation team is composed of many interpreters and a few translators. Roles are well assigned among team members such that interpreters focus on interpretation while translators focus on translation. When one interpretation/translation team needs support from another team, they actively collaborate and jointly deliver the result. Through this cross-functional collaboration, interpreters and translators gain knowledge of company-wide projects and technologies beyond their own domains. In addition to collaboration, interpretation/translation teams hold knowledge transfer sessions regularly to share which domain each interpretation/translation team supports, and which function the domain performs in Coupang.

Irene: Interpreters and translators in Coupang work as a team under the organization they support, and they work in a cooperative atmosphere. Like most interpreters and translators, I did not have much experience working with many interpreters and translators in a team. A lot of local companies have one or two interpreters or translators throughout the entire organization. However, in Coupang, multiple interpreters and translators belong to one team. As I’m working with two other translators, I ask for their advice when I am faced with text that is difficult to translate. Sometimes I get background information from interpreters of our team. While working in a cooperative atmosphere, translators can build their own expertise.

How do interpreters/translators develop their career path in Coupang?

Irene: Roles of Coupang translators are not limited to fulfilling various translation requests. We develop our career path as a translator by not only doing translation but also effectively communicating translation requests, managing the translation workload of the team, and coming up with and discussing plans or systems to handle translation requests more efficiently.

Chan: Translators continue to expand the scope of their roles. Aside from translation, we always think about how to improve the efficiency and speed of work and actively implement processes for improvements. When we gain new knowledge and terminologies, we share them with our team and compile a glossary of them to ensure the consistency of translations provided by our team. And we act as gatekeepers, holding ourselves accountable for the overall translation quality of our team. We also take part in the hiring of translators by assessing their translation tests, interviewing them, and making a hiring decision. Sometimes, we rotate or temporarily transfer to other interpretation/translation teams to broaden our work knowledge and experience.

I think you have some advice to offer as an in-house interpreter/translator. What kind of ability and experience are required of an interpreter/translator?

Irene: As I mentioned earlier, Coupang is constantly changing, so translators have no time to get bored with familiar topics they have translated and can acquire new knowledge while studying new topics. Also, Coupang has a corporate culture that encourages employees to actively try out and introduce new ideas to enhance work efficiency. I think it is important to have an attitude to take on new challenges.

Chan: The ability to communicate and cooperate with colleagues is much important. A translator does not only work as an individual but also a member of one interpretation/translation team. Therefore, translators are required to improve the overall work efficiency of their teams by consistently communicating with their teammates. Outside of their own team, translators communicate with the author of the original text and completely understand what they are translating, and hence translate it accurately by the due date. If needed, translators communicate with translation requesters to re-schedule the due dates of translation requests and re-prioritize them.

Lastly, please extend words of a warm welcome to interpreters/translators who apply for Coupang.

Irene: Coupang is growing rapidly. If you join Coupang, you will be able to translate diverse topics and take the lead in translation-related tasks while witnessing firsthand how fast Coupang is growing. If you want to play an active role as a translator, I am confident that Coupang is the best workplace for you.

Chan: Coupang is not where you can adjust easily and quickly, but a new hire doesn’t assume all the burden. We have many interpreters and translators who will wholeheartedly help onboard you successfully. For years, we have built efficient work processes and ample knowledge you can refer to, and whenever you face an obstacle, you can turn to us for help. Join us.

Coupang is always hiring talented interpretation/translation professionals. If you’d like to enhance your expertise as an in-house interpreter/translator, check out our open positions.