The Cloud Native Glossary is a project led by the CNCF Business Value Subcommittee. Its goal is to explain cloud native concepts in clear and simple language without requiring any previous technical knowledge. We are in the process of translating the English version of the Glossary into as many languages as possible. This week we focus on Korean and the team that localized the Glossary for Korean speakers! 

About the Korean Glossary

Hello in Korean : annyeonghaseyo

안녕하세요 CNCF!

To greet someone in Korean, you say 안녕하세요 [an-nyeong-ha-se-yo]. Korean, a scientific and systematic language, uses a unique writing system called Hangul. Modern Hangul has 24 basic letters — 40 in total — consisting of 14 consonants (ex: ㄱ, ㄴ, ㄷ, ㄹ, ㅁ, ㅎ, …) and 10 vowels (ex: ㅏ, ㅓ, ㅗ, ㅜ, ㅡ,ㅣ, …). Each letter is inspired by the shape of the mouth, tongue, or lips when pronouncing it, easing learning and remembering. For instance, the letter ㄴ [n] mimics the tongue’s shape (say “na” and you’ll notice the tip of your tongue touching your palate like a ㄴ). It’s scientific, isn’t it? These letters are combined into a syllable unit. For example, ㅎ [h] and ㅏ[a] are combined to 하 [ha]. Congratulations, now you know the basics of the Korean language!

Modern Korean is primarily spoken in South and North Korea, and also in some regions of China and Russia. The total number of Korean speakers is 81.7 M — the 23rd most spoken language in the world (2022 Ethnologue 200)

We believe that all these Korean speakers should have access to cloud native content in Korean that is easy to understand. That’s why we decided to localize the CNCF Glossary. 

When localizing each term, we have been paying close attention to keeping the original text’s meaning. On May 10th, 2022, we published our first ten localized terms — three months after starting the effort. “Cloud computing” was the first contribution (PR opened on January 18, 2022), and  “service mesh” was our tenth (merged on April 21, 2022). With ten localized terms, we were able to merge the dev-ko branch into the main branch on April 29, 2022. That’s when the Korean Glossary went live ( — an exciting moment for our team and, hopefully, many Korean speakers learning about cloud native! 

Currently, we have 18 localized terms and four terms are WIP. We always need help! If you are interested, please hop on the CNCF Slack channel #glossary-localization-korean. 

Why do you think localizing the Glossary in Korean is important?

Localization is essential because it makes cloud native concepts and technologies more accessible to anyone anywhere. Understanding technical concepts is hard in itself, let alone in a foreign language. Numerous Korean speakers are learning about cloud native technologies, and we are sure that a Korean Glossary will help them in their exploration journey — it’s just so much easier to learn something in your native language!

Note that localization is not the same as translation. Localization is arguably the better approach. Translation simply “translates” content word-by-word from one source language into another. On the other hand, localization goes beyond translation by adapting content to different countries, regions, or localities. It includes cultural and language-specific preferences, experiences, and customs.

With interest in cloud computing and cloud users rapidly increasing in Korea, the need for a Korean cloud native Glossary has become even more pressing. Communicating fluently at work or during presentations is difficult when participants aren’t fully familiar with technical cloud native terms. When you have a localized Korean Glossary, people can refer to a source that takes Korean culture and linguistic preferences into account rather than simply translating terms. With the Glossary, cloud native concepts become much easier to grasp. Ultimately, we believe that the Glossary will help level the playing field and enable Koreans to discuss their next cloud native project more effectively. 

To our knowledge, no other glossary is as reliable or authoritative as the CNCF Glossary. Today, we are proud that Koreans can refer to the CNCF Glossary (although some work still lies ahead). We are all excited to be part of the Korean team. We will continue the process and localize more terms in the coming months. We hope it is helpful to readers and future contributors.

Meet the Korean team

Seokho Son

A Senior Researcher and Special Fellow at the Electronics and Telecommunications Research Institute (National research institute in South Korea), Seokho Son (LinkedIn/GitHub) conducts research in cloud computing and international standardization. He’s also an avid contributor to several open source projects. You may know him as a founding member of the Cloud-Barista project, the Korean localization team lead of the Kubernetes website and dashboard, and a maintainer of the Cloud Native Glossary. 

Jihoon Seo

Jihoon Seo (LinkedIn/GitHub) is a Senior Researcher at Electronics and Telecommunications Research Institute (ETRI) in South Korea. After obtaining his Master’s in Wireless Networking and Communications in 2014, Jihoon started to move into cloud computing and has focused fully on cloud-related projects since 2019. In addition to the Korean Glossary, Jihoon works on the Korean Kubernetes website and is an L10n team approver.

Yunkon Kim

Yunkon Kim (LinkedIn/GitHub) is also a researcher at the Electronics and Telecommunications Research Institute (ETRI). He is keenly interested in anything related to multi/distributed cloud and system/software design. Currently, Yunkon is incubating a multi-cloud network technology as part of the Cloud-Barista community, an open-source project for a multi-cloud common platform.

Apart from these members, several Korean contributors have started contributing recently. Thanks to everyone who helped bring the Korean glossary to life!

Why did you decide to localize the Glossary? Why is it important to you?

By contributing to an open source project, you are helping to make the world a little bit better — commit by commit. That’s the guiding principle for our team 😊 By localizing the Glossary, we hope to help Korean speakers better understand the exciting world of cloud native.

While some of us get a kick out of seeing our commits merged and out there for others to see, other team members enjoy meeting people worldwide. But above all, we are passionate about gathering everyone’s views and ensuring the Korean localized terms are high quality. We are laying the building blocks for future Korean contributors, and that feels incredibly meaningful.

How has the experience been? 

First of all, we are amazed by how many people contribute to the Glossary’s localization effort. It’s exciting to see that it is a global effort, and we are thrilled to be a part of it! 

But localizing the Glossary doesn’t come without its challenges. It is often difficult to find the right nuance or tone. It also requires continuous discussions to improve strategies and workflows for contributions. For example, we decided to use a discussion page to track the localization progress and assign tasks to contributors. Through collaboration and our contributors’ passion for the project, we always find a suitable solution — that’s the power of open source! 

Some of us are also contributors to the Korean L10n Kubernetes website. That experience is often beneficial because both projects have many parallels. Through the Glossary project, we meet more international people, which helps us gradually improve our communication and organizational skills.

How and why should others contribute 

The Glossary is a great project to step into open source. It’s straightforward and a great starting point. Contributors can:

Anything else you’d like us to call out? 

We look forward to meeting contributors —who we have only met through GitHub, Slack, and Zoom — face-to-face at events such as KubeCon CloudNativeCon. It will be interesting!

It is only through the contributions of many people that we have come so far. Let’s keep working together and move further toward an even better future! 😊