|Assistant Secretary to the President for Foreign Press Song Jeong-hwa,stands beside a monitor at Cheongwadae. Photo by Ahn Chee-young.
In a globalized community, effective interaction between countries is a crucial element in maintaining optimal relationships. A graduate from Ewha highlights the importance of global communication through her experience as an assistant secretary to the president for foreign press.
Song Jeong-hwa, graduated from the department of Korean Language and Literature, currently works as an assistant secretary of foreign media at the Blue House. She is an alumna of the graduate school of the Department of Interpretation and Translation, and worked as an interpreter for nearly 10 years. She made her debut in January on the Facebook live program 11:50 Cheongwadae by introducing a variety of foreign news items. Song’s role is to announce the philosophy and the stance of the government administration on current issues to the international press. She plans and conducts the president’s foreign press interviews, proofreads the president’s speeches in English and other briefings, and in certain situations, provides simultaneous interpretation and translation during press conference to the secretary’s office. Furthermore, Song also analyzes international media articles dealing with events happening in Korea.
About 11:50 Cheongwadae
Song's program, 11:50 Cheongwadae, is a Facebook live channel broadcasted via the YouTube account, Republic of Korea Cheongwadae. Cheongwadae refers to the official residence of the President of the Republic of Korea. The channel strives to interact with citizens on important events that are being dealt with by the international press, corrects errors if the coverage of international issues is delivered inaccurately in local newspapers and shares news that may be considered intriguing.
What element do you consider essential to accomplishing your duties?
While working as an assistant secretary, it is important to cooperate with other secretaries. The duty is not fundamentally different from any company in terms of the need to handle various tasks quickly and with high precision, but because I am working at a presidential secretary’s office, the result of the duty can bring about a huge ripple effect. Therefore, I consider astute judgement one of the key qualifications.
How did Ewha help you achieve your dream?
Frankly speaking, I have not contemplated on the affection and the value of Ewha while attending school since keeping track of my attendance and writing reports were considered more important. However, after graduating, I recognized that Ewha is an ideal place to enroll, because I liked our lush campus, and since only women are allowed to attend, the atmosphere was different from that of coeducational schools.
Moreover, the progress of growth from a freshman who had just graduated from high school to a senior as a mature woman was enjoyable. It was also valuable to learn the feeling of solidarity as a woman.
What advice would you give to youths who are interested in working as an assistant secretary?
This field of occupation requires a broad range of knowledge rather than merely focusing on English. Therefore, it is highly encouraging for youths to prepare beforehand. It is essential to possess background information by continuously keeping track of issues associated with government, society, culture and diplomacy and to organize one’s opinion because it is more effective to translate and interpret a source when one knows what the content is about.
What are your thoughts on the future in the field of interpretation and translation?
With the development of artificial intelligence there are negative expectations that careers related to interpretation and translation will disappear in the future. Nevertheless, the field is connected to language, and even though there may be categories where machines can replace humans, they can’t replace the whole aspect such as entirely interpreting literature. Hence, as long as humanity exists and a variety of languages are being used, the distinct domain of interpretation and translation will remain.