Typing in Korean

So you’ve made it to Korea. You’re here, enjoying the sights and sounds of the country you’ll be living and working in, and have even taken the next step and taken up learning Korean. But you keep running into problems when trying to type on your western-style keyboard.

If you have a Mac, you actually have a few options that will make it easier for you to type in Korean (not only for vocabulary practice, but when searching).

To activate the Korean language inputs on your computer, head up to the menu bar on your Mac. You’ll see the current language set. As you can see in this picture, my current language is set to English (US). I’ve also a few other languages.

If you don’t have anything, but English selected (or your native language), hit the Open International option to bring up the menu.

This brings up a preference menu that allows you to toggle which languages you’d like to be able to type in on the computer. As you can see, there are several options for different kinds of input for Korean. I recommend selecting two: 2-Set Korean and HNC Romanja.

Simply close this window and go back the menu bar, and you’ll find your two new additions. The 2-Set Korean transforms your keyboard into the standard Korean input (that you see on every computer in Korea). This is great for learning touch-typing, but for Western computers with Latin characters, it doesn’t do us any good, since we don’t have the characters on our keyboard. Thankfully, there’s a virtual keyboard available. Just click on the Show Keyboard Viewer and it will pop up on your screen.

There it is!

However, since this can be quite slow, I usually opt for the HNC Romanja. This allows you to input Latin letters and the computer changes them into Hanguel. Check it out:

  • ng = ㅇ
  • ss = ㅆ
  • ai = ㅐ
  • ngue = 워
  • gamsamhabnida = 감사합니다
  • ngannyenghaseingyo = 안녕하세요

It does take a little time getting used to (especially when writing the more complicated sequences), but when trying to translate something or enter data, it is quite handy!