This article was originally published in the South Korean national newspaper, Hankyoreh, in September 20th, 2011. This is an English translation of the article.
‘Korean-translated version of WikiLeaks’ launches as a project
by Jongchan Park
Websites sharing Korean-translated versions of the U.S. embassy cables which were leaked through the whistleblowing website WikiLeaks are bursting out around the country.
The most well known one is ‘WikiLeaks Korea’. The main page of this website informs that it is “A project which accepts voluntary Korean-translation of cables related with South Korea”. It also presents the goal of “shedding light on the Truth rapidly, with the united power of Internet users.” It emphasized that “To assure volunteers in protecting their translated cables, this website provides not only privacy protection but also a secure system that can block any attempt of random deletion.” If some groups getting embarrassed by the ongoing translation project try deletion or attacks, it plans to instantly release the IPs publicly and block them, and the archive is constructed in a way that it can be swiftly restored by its real-time backup system.
WikiLeaks Korea has currently posted 25 translated cables and 12 cables which are in the process of translation. Among the 25 cables, raw materials of issues which had been reported partially in national press exist as follows: ‘Republic of Korea: 1987 Annual Terrorism Report’, ‘Lee Myung-bak Dreams Up A Canal Project’, ‘Senior KBS Correspondents See GNP's Victory Inevitable’.
Cables that are still in translation include ‘Korea FTA: Preparatory Discussions On Track’, ‘Kim Il Sung's Birthday And New Titles For Father And Son: Thoughts In The South’ and many others. Famous twitter user Daeyong Park, a journalist working in MBC’s Chuncheon district, whose twitter ID is biguse, and about 20 others including lukypd and methis4u are participating in the translation so far. Translated cables can be directly edited after logging in, and the website administrator also accepts and edits them through the email email@example.com.
The website administrator, Mr. Na, aged 45 and residing in California, wrote in an email interview with Hankyoreh that “Media control conducted in South Korea is at a truly appalling level in the eyes of citizens outside the country(the U.S. citizens).”
“I launched the website to spread the Truth to the public in the midst of false reporting and biased editions that profit certain groups,” wrote Na.
With regards to the security challenges, Na wrote: “I’m confident that I can handle them since I’ve run a company in Silicon Valley for a long time which deals with security problems in the Internet.”
“I’ve already collected several attempts of deletion and attacks, and currently plan to release them on Internet after the range of the attacker groups narrows down.” Mr. Na will report on the newly discovered truth dug up by collective translation efforts, using his twitter ID wikileakskrorg.
Apart from WikiLeaks Korea, twitter ID socoop is currently translating and posting ‘The Translated Titles of South Korean WikiLeaks Cables’. Journalist Daeyong Park also has opened a webpage on Google Docs in 17th September entitled “WikiLeaks translation, through Collective Intelligence” in which internet users can share both raw texts and the Korean translation of them. Currently about 16 cables which received translation requests are posted there, and websites where one can read WikiLeaks materials are linked.
“The person who translated the Translated Titles, socoop, suggested the full text translation, so I proposed collective working via twitter. About 10 people volunteered,” Park said. “I suggested the collective work because of limits which individual press organizations are facing.”
“Translation of high priority would be hot issues like Korea-US FTA,” Park said. “We will organize a supervising group to improve accuracy of the translation and release them officially with the National Trade Union of Media Workers, which would be a comprehensive collaborating efforts that goes on and off-line.”
WikiLeaks Korea and Park are currently concentrating the services to the website WikiLeaks Korea, because of the security and maintenance problems of Google Docs translation.