Korean Dictionary Guide – The Best Apps and Translation Tools

Last Updated on January 13, 2021 by 90 Day Korean

Looking for a Korean dictionary to look up that Korean phrase that you hear all the time?

Or maybe you just want to look up a few words from your favorite K-Pop song.

We’ve got you covered!

Below are the best Korean dictionaries, translators, and romanizers. Most of these tools are available in both website and app form. A solid Korean dictionary will be extremely useful if you’re looking to learn Korean fast or if you want to understand more about Korean culture.

Here we go!

Illustration of 2 people with books behind them

Studying Korean through vocabulary and grammar lessons is an effective way to learn the language. To help with that, you’ll want to get a Korean dictionary so you can check out English words in Korean easily wherever you are. For example, you might want to look up Korean words you see as you go about your daily life in Korea. Just punch the English word in your Korean dictionary, and you can get the Korean equivalent.

Most Korean dictionary apps and websites still work the best with English to Korean or Korean to English. However, they are gradually getting better in translating Korean to other languages.

And some apps already have great Korean dictionaries for languages other than English. Here are the top Korean dictionary picks.

Korean Dictionaries

Below are the top Korean dictionaries to help with learning the language. Generally, you don’t need an account to use these, but if you create one, you can save some of the words that you’re trying to remember.

This English Korean dictionary is a great go-to application and website for when you’re searching for accurate translations from English to Korean and Korean to English. In addition to English, you can find the dictionary website to hold many other language options, from Japanese to Finnish. This Korean dictionary offers you example sentences, the specific word translation (in its noun, adjective etc. forms), and any possible word meanings it may have.

Screenshot of Naver dictionary

A nice feature of this English Korean dictionary is that you can click on the blue speaker icons to practice audio. Keep in mind that not all of the words will have audio, but many do. There could be audio for both the Korean and the English words.

Naver Korean dictionary does have some limitations and isn’t stylistically the most modern option. However, it is incredibly accurate and nicely detailed. This English Korean dictionary works best when searching for a specific word instead of full sentences. You can also put in a whole sentence, but be aware that the dictionary will more likely only offer you each word’s meaning separately if the sentence is complex. Naver dictionary is excellent for looking up parts of Korean sentences, such as conjunctions, particles, and markers.

This is the go-to dictionary for Koreans since there are many language options. It’s a very popular dictionary for Koreans learning English because of its accuracy. Both the site and the app are great choices if you’re studying the Korean language. You can get the app version of this English Korean dictionary for both iOS and Android.

Daum Dictionary (다음 어학사전 | daeum eohaksajeon)

The online Korean dictionary by Daum functions very similarly to Naver dictionary. When you search for a word, it offers you all its known meanings. And if you search this English Korean dictionary by entering a sentence, it breaks down the sentence into separate words.

Daum Dictionary Example

Besides operating as an English to Korean dictionary, and vice versa, it is possible to search the dictionary for other languages as well. However, in comparison to Naver, Daum does not have as many languages available. One of the positives is that the layout for Daum is a bit clearer than Naver’s, which may make it easier to understand what comes up in your search.

Daum Dictionary has an app on both Google Play and the App Store.

Translation Tools

Here is a tool you can use for translation of Korean to English and other languages. While translation tools can be accurate, we recommend learning Korean instead of using a translation site.

If you try to use translation tools to communicate with a Korean person, your message can be misinterpreted. The translation tools can be useful to check what you have already written.

Papago (파파고 | papago)

Papago is a translation site provided by Naver. It specializes in offering translation for Korean sentences into English and other languages. This means that it is not exactly a Korean dictionary, but you can use it to check the meaning of a full sentence or how something you want to say can be said in Korean.

It uses a neural machine so that it can learn from its translation mistakes and gain an understanding of what kind of translations you are most likely in need of. Papago is great to use in combination with Naver Dictionary as they complement each other.

For some of your searches, Papago will also offer additional words and idioms that you may be good to remember for the future. There is an audio button for both the input and the result.

In addition to the website, there is an app for Android and iPhone.

Google Translate

This is another option if you prefer to use Google for translating from English to Korean and Korean to English. There is also an app version that has a great camera feature. It allows you to point your camera at a sign in Korean, and it will translate it into English.

Korean Dictionary & Translator by Xung Le

All of the English Korean dictionary options presented above have been created by Koreans in Korea. This one is different because it’s of foreign making. It’s a free app that users can download for both Android and Apple phones.

There are hundreds of thousands of vocabulary words, phrases, and sentences that you can use for learning more Korean. It even includes some Korean idioms, which can be really helpful for your future conversations with native Koreans.

In addition, it offers the ability to review words you’ve learned directly in the app! However, this Korean dictionary only seems to support translating to and from English.

Romanization Tools

These aren’t dictionaries, but they’re useful for writing out Korean words and sentences in romanized English. For example, let’s say you wanted to write the Korean word 선풍이 (seonpungi | fan) in English letters. Each of the Korean letters has a corresponding set of English letters.

This is ok for spelling out words in English for people who can’t read Korean. However, it can be very confusing for learning Korean or knowing how to say the words properly.

Since it can make pronunciation quite confusing, we don’t recommend using romanized words often. It’s much easier to spend the hour it takes to learn Hangul (Korean Alphabet). Here’s a resource for that: https://www.90daykorean.com/how-to-learn-the-korean-alphabet/

Korean Romanization Converter

This is a great tool for romanizing Korean words using English letters. It gives you three different selections and shows a few different types of results. It’s nice because there are lots of romanized English options depending on how you want to use it. The downside is that you need to keep pressing the “back” button each time you want to get the English spelling of a new Korean word.

The Hangul Romanizer

This site can easily romanize Korean words using the Revised Romanization of Korean system. It’s useful because you don’t have to type “enter”. Instead, just type or paste the Korean word and it automatically shows the romanization.

¥The downsides are that you may need to wait for the page to load, and the site is down at times. Occasionally the English romanization is incorrect, so you may want to double-check the results.

How to Translate English to Korean words

One of the easiest ways to translate English words into their Korean equivalent is to use Naver Dictionary. Just head over to the dictionary and type your word in. Then press the green magnifying glass.

Keep in mind that there may be several Korean words that match that English word. In that case, look at the sample sentences for context to see which Korean word is the best match. Alternatively, if you know a synonym in English to that word, then you may want to try that.

Best English to Korean Dictionary

The go-to English to Korean dictionary is Naver dictionary. It’s the most comprehensive and has a great app for your smartphone. You can try out other dictionaries like Daum English Dictionary as well. Personal preference may be a factor, so try out a few and see which ones you like best.

Best Korean Translator

For accuracy and precision, we recommend Naver’s Papago (파파고 | papago) as the best Korean translator available. You can get the app version of this Korean translator as well.

Hanja Dictionaries

Hanja is the Korean word for Chinese characters. Many Korean words have Chinese origin and are based on Chinese characters. If you know some basic Hanja, it can be easier to understand Korean words. You may see hanja written in Korean newspapers or on some signs around Korea.

You can use this dictionary to find the hanja from Korean, or vice versa.

Hopefully one or more of these websites and applications will be of great help in supporting your journey of learning Korean! Whether you are searching for vocabulary and words, or translations of full sentences, these tools can be very useful.

Be sure to check out our YouTube channel for great videos for learning Korean. If you’re looking for a game plan you can use for studying Korean, go here: https://www.90daykorean.com/learn-korean/

We also have a structured online program that will teach you to have a 3-minute conversation in the first 90 days.

Do you have a favorite Korean dictionary or translator? Let us know below in the comments!