ZOO Digital launches ZOO Korea, a hub for localizing Korean entertainment

ZOO Digital, a Los Angeles-based language service provider (LSP) specializing in localization for the entertainment industry, has announced the launch of its Korean hub, following an investment in the Seoul-based LSP, WhatSub Pro.

ZOO Korea is poised to capitalize upon the recent boom in popularity of Korean-language entertainment, which has surged thanks to the widespread critical acclaim of films and television shows like Netflix’s Squid Game and the Oscar-winning Parasite. On March 7, the company announced it made a majority investment of 51% in WhatSub Pro, launching ZOO Korea, which will specialize in localizing Korean media. 

MultiLingual spoke with WhatSub Pro and ZOO Korea managing director Jonghyun Oh about the recent development and the rising demand for localized Korean entertainment.

“There is a great deal of content that is popular around the Southeast Asia market, but more recently this is being popularized globally,” Oh said. “With ZOO’s infrastructure, technology, and support, we can open up opportunities for our clients to distribute this content, using safe and secure localization services.”

ZOO Korea builds on the partnership that ZOO Digital has maintained with WhatSub Pro for around five years. “We’ve worked together with ZOO Digital for a long time, but this was the chance to take that to the next level,” Oh said. “I was incredibly happy that ZOO has welcomed us, so now it’s the perfect time to go out there and show what we can do on a greater scale.”

WhatSub Pro was founded in 2015 and specializes in localizing audiovisual media such as movies, dramas, and gaming. Given that the demand for content from Korea is higher than ever before, ZOO Digital notes that the investment is a strategic move that will ultimately strengthen the company’s presence in the region. Oh added that several streaming companies are looking to South Korea’s media landscape for television and film that can be brought to a global audience.

“With an inevitable investment in Korean content comes opportunity for localization, and we want to be there to support our clients in expanding and evolving the Korean and SEA media landscape,” Oh said. “Localization is more than just translation. It’s not always a direct translation from one word to another; the style and nuance are also very important. Those choices are very important to truly represent the original media content and culture.”

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Andrew Warner
Andrew Warner is a writer from Sacramento. He received his B.A. in linguistics and English from UCLA and is currently working toward an M.A. in applied linguistics at Columbia University. His writing has been published in Language Magazine, Sactown Magazine, and The Takeout.

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