Thursday, 26 August 2010

Question of the day: Multi Language Car Navigation

So Wifeoseyo and I got a car. It's pretty sweet, though commuting is... commuting.

Anyway, it's not a Korean-made car, so the next question is this: see, the navigation system that's built into the car... well... has a few shortcomings. We're looking at getting a Korean navigation system, but as a not-Korean native speaker, Korean-only navigation systems aren't helpful for me, because exactly at the times when I need to focus on the road and not have too much distracting me - off-ramps, left-turns, merging traffic - having the Navi speaking to me in Korean increases my stress instead of decreasing it, and divides my focus instead of helping. I can turn the thing off, but having notations and such is useful.

Now, I know that in America, you can get a navigation system that can switch voices - you can have Homer Simpson or Kyle from South Park tell you to turn left or right.  I haven't researched it, but I bet that means you can also switch your navigation to a different language...


At some point, maybe sooner than later, my Korean language will improve to the point it's not necessary, but until then...


So the question is, here in Korea, how does one get a navigation that can switch between English and Korean instructions without too much difficulty?  Which brand is best, or what does one have to do to their navigation system, so that it'll do it?

Answers in the comments, please.

24 comments:

Mike said...

A mate of mine got dual language GPS... He said that are available just about anywhere but I'm pretty sure his came from Technomart or Hi-mart. He paid around 300K.

His maps and search screen were Korean as you have to pay a lot more for English software, but the directions were given by a snooty Brit.

Foreigner Joy said...

I drive with my bf's Korean navi system and do well. I just focus on the picture. You can also put it on mute too.

surprises aplenty said...

I'm with Joy; I use my navigation system in Korean but with the sound turned off. The images take little getting used to, but quickly become clear.

My navi system gets to the proper destination but sometimes takes a convoluted route. Now that I know a little of Busan, I use my own judgement and travel more directly without it.

John from Daejeon said...

Don't the current versions of smart phones already do this? No need to buy a GPS system when you can get a good one for free (Droid).

melissa said...

YES, in Cda you can change the language. Prob b/c we have so many languages in one country. Only the main ones, though. Not sure if Korean is on there...

This Is Me Posting said...

I love that despite the fact that Rob indicated he would rather have a GPS that speaks to him, two out of the 4 replies so far have essentially been "Man up and turn the sound off anyway."

Real helpful, folks. I hope none of you are teachers:

"Teacher, I can't read this. Could you tell me what this says?"

"No! Read it anyway!"

---

As for the GPS, I can't help you specifically with your situation in Korea but I can offer this: My father's truck has a built-in GPS system and he recently wanted to upgrade the software. He contacted the dealership and asked about getting an upgrade and they indicated that they could send him a CD which installed new software through the car's CD player.

If you have a similar set up in your car, you might be able to contact the dealership or even the manufacture directly for something similar. Maybe ask if there's a language pack CD that you can purchase.

The GPS CD was kind of expensive, though. Like $400 (or something equally ridiculous) which is why my father passed on the purchase, so I can't attest to the quality of the upgrade.

kushibo said...

Rob, use the Korean and you will get used to it eventually, to the point that directions will be second nature.

I know this from having switched my Garmin in Hawaii to Japanese. Hidari desu... hidari desu.

John from Daejeon said...

You might want to avoid gettig a garmin right now. Kushibo, you might want to see if yours is involved in this recall. As you it would really suck to not only have your car catch on fire, but also your house if you park inside an attached garage.

Erik said...

I'm with Kushibo. After a couple weeks I got used to listening for the directions in Korean. Most of the commands you'll hear are along the lines of "Get ready to turn in 700 meters... 500 meters... 200 meters..."

You'll also pick up interesting terms like overpass and underpass.

Now my girlfriend complains that I listen to the GPS woman better than I listen to her.

Schplook said...

I'm with 95 on this one. Oh, Kushibo is '95', right? '구십오' ;)

Whatever the language, it'll take a while to get used to driving in a new place, and your particular navigation system (icons, controls, slight time lag/delay, etc.).

Your system may have different expressions from mine, but you should at least brush up on the Korean for:

numbers (you should know 0-100 well enough by now!) '80km' = 팔십 키로,
prepositions like 'in front' = 앞,
directions 'left'/'right' = 왼쪽/오른쪽 (remember on the subway?),
and 'turn left'/'turn right' = 좌회전/우회전 (haven't you ever said that to a taxi driver?),
and also 'go straight' (= 직진).

Make sure you learn the words for:
'underpass' = 지하차도로,
'destination' = 목적지,
'highway' = 고속도로,
'speed' = 지속,
'speed camera' = 지속 카메라,
'drive safely' = 안전 운전 하십시오,
'traffic' = 교통,
'bridge/viaduct = 육교,
'continue' = 계속,
and whatever other expressions your system uses... you may need to ask your wife (if she is free, very patient, and doesn't get too stressed out by it) to navigate and translate for you for a while... until you're used to it all. Or you could ride as a passenger and take notes of expressions to learn.

It's really not that much to learn, is it? Sure, you'll make a few mistake and it will be stressful for a while, but you'll get used to it soon enough... believe me.

kushibo said...

Schplook, you forgot "재검색," for "recalculating."

That's the GPS lady's passive-aggressive way of saying, "You pabo! You didn't go the way I told you and now I have to figure out a new route. Listen next time."

kushibo said...

John, thanks for the heads-up about the incendiary Garmins.

I have bought three: my original, a newer one with a wider screen that provides free traffic data, and one just like the second for my mother.

Fortunately, mine (265T) wasn't one of the exploding GPS units.[Or unfortunately, if it meant getting a new one; the Bluetooth phone conversations on the one I have now don't sound as good as before.]

Gomushin Girl said...

Are the "shut up and get used to the Korean" comments supposed to be any more useful than the "shut up and just use the map" comments (which, I might add, is also dangerous)? He's already said he finds it distracting, which makes driving more dangerous. More dangerous driving is the last thing the streets of Seoul needs. Rob's no slouch in the Korean department, but as somebody still learning it's not at all surprising he finds that having to listen for and interpret directions in Korean to make driving more tense.
My suggestion is first to a) contact your dealer - yours in particular should be able to help you out with an English system b) buy a second-hand set off craigslist - I see at least one advertised each week or c) invest in a smartphone that offers an app to address this problem.

Schplook said...

Rubber shoe 소녀:

OK. That's a good point. The most important thing to do is to get used to driving safely on Korean roads, then figure out the navigation system.

Rob, perhaps you should work out your route in advance, stick to familiar roads, or just follow road signs like everyone used to have to do.

I still reckon you should just get used to it in Korean though. Once you're comfortable driving, turn on the navigation and figure it out (using my earlier suggestions).

By the way, I have created an online set of flashcards for studying the words I put in my previous post (plus quite a few more). If anyone's interested, I'll post the link here in a comment. Also, I'll be adding more shortly.

palladin said...

Hmm amazing ... truly amazing.

Ok being someone who drives a foreign car (BMW iDrive doesn't work too well over here) I had to go out and get my own. It used to be easy as there were many Mappy GPS's that had English text and English voice on them.

Recently Mappy made a new version that still had the English text but dropped the English voice support. I tried many things to get the voice in there, including copying the resource files over. I was able to eventually get it working with English voices but you must be very comfortable with computers to do this.

First remember modern "navigation" systems with mappy are just ARM based computers running Windows CE. Plug it inside and you can use a mouse / keyboard on it, get crafty and you can even access the control panel and a command prompt. Now you won't have to do these things to get this fix working. Mappy is still releasing updates to their older mappy software, you have to just apply the older software to the new GPS while overwriting the newer Mappy software.

You have to go to whomever your purchased it from and have them update it to the most recent system version. Now have them download the newest release of the older Mappy software and put it on a SD card for you. Before you do ANYTHING ELSE to your GPS please for the love of god backup your SD card in case you need to restore it.

Now you need to replace the "Mappy" folder on the root of the SD card (sometimes its under an app folder) with the Mappy folder extracted from the update. Your going to replace the "New" Mappy's folder with one from the "updated Old" Mappy, this should overwrite it and replace the executive file and all the resources (including the voice) with the English compatible one.

If this all seems a bit complex, its actually must easier then it looks. If you need assistance let me know and I can provide you with an updated "Old" Mappy software.

Schplook said...

Hmm... my comment didn't show up.

I'll try again:

Rubber shoe 소녀:

OK. That's a good point. The most important thing to do is to get used to driving safely on Korean roads, then figure out the navigation system.

Rob, perhaps you should work out your route in advance, stick to familiar roads, or just follow road signs like everyone used to have to do.

I still reckon you should just get used to it in Korean though. Once you're comfortable driving, turn on the navigation and figure it out (using my earlier suggestions).

By the way, I have created an online set of flashcards for studying the words I put in my previous post (plus quite a few more). If anyone's interested, I'll post the link here in a comment. Also, I'll be adding more shortly.

palladin said...

The models I used were iRiver, once I get off work I'll post the model numbers.

Schplook said...

OK.

I just made a set of flashcards for self-study of directions and vocabulary used in navigation systems and on all the Korean on road signs.

Nobody has requested this, but there it is anyway (for anyone who's interested).

Maybe those who want to take their Korean driver licence tests could try using it to test their knowledge of road signs, direction words, and traffic/road-related vocabulary.

My Korean is not great, so there may be one or two mistakes.

There are 87 cards.

Schplook said...

Oh, the set I'm referring to is the second-to-last one on the list... just in case anyone actually decides to check them out. :)

This Is Me Posting said...

@Gomushin Girl

THANK YOU. I truly thought I was the only person who was thinking this.

Not only are people being huge dicks about this, they're not being helpful in the least.

I'm stunned at how rude people are being here toward Rob's request.

Roboseyo said...

The "suck it up, cupcake" tack is the one wifeoseyo took, and as "not understanding Korean after living in Korea for seven years" issues go, I'm also of the "tough love" approach, unsympathetic as it sounds on a comment board.

On the other hand, Schplook's vocabulary flashcards are a very helpful submission, in my opinion, as are Palladin's technical details... and my phone's getting old, so a smartphone might be the way I go, anyway.

But no, sorry folks, just looking at the map won't do, because the map shows which ramp, etc. to take, JUST when I've got to be watching for merging traffic and stuff. I'd be better off looking at an area map and ignoring navigation altogether... which is what I've been doing.

palladin said...

Rob I got better information for you. Hopefully you haven't bought one yet.

Today I went to E-Zone to update my GPS and the guy at the shop said Mappy would be releasing an English voice capable update very soon. As I've posted before they used to have this feature in their older software but removed it when they released Mappy 2008. Customer demand has been so much that they will put an English voice option in the next update.

I would highly suggest insisting on a GPS that use's Mappy and has English text options, that way you can get the future English Voice update. The one I got was the Mappy AP7, it should go for between 300,000 and 400,000 won.

If you need english voice ~right now~ you can load the iStation U7 version of Mappy onto the AP7. The software is compatible with the system, the only problem is Mappy is no longer releasing map / camera updates for the iStation U7 so you might end up with a 4 ~ 6 month stale map.

There should be no good reason for you to be stuck with a GPS that doesn't have some English voice option. Not with how crazy Koreans are for learning English.

Stafford said...

I'm with John - Get a new Phone - either that or a Tom Tom with Darth Vader reading the directions:
http://www.google.com/url?sa=t&source=web&cd=1&ved=0CBYQtwIwAA&url=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.youtube.com%2Fwatch%3Fv%3D2ljFfL-mL70&ei=PC55TK2VJJGgsQOTwajtCg&usg=AFQjCNHmvHo-z7kI_M13vZeQyBW9Gvqeew&sig2=Ldljs6MzFl1_UFiBJpQicw

Roboseyo said...

There is no Tom Tom for korea