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Naver Papago, Korea’s AI-powered translation service, surpasses 20 million users

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Users of Naver Papago, the Korean online portal operator’s artificial intelligence-powered translation service, have steadily increased, topping 20 million last month on overseas demand, industry sources said Monday.

A promotional image of Papago [YONHAP]

The number of Papago’s monthly active users (MAUs), both for app and web versions, reached 20.74 million in May, up 18 percent from a year ago, according to the sources, which cited a report by Naver Cloud.

Papago’s MAUs first surpassed the 20 million threshold in March and continued to grow to 20.39 million in April.

Launched in 2016, Naver’s AI multilingual translation service has shown constant growth in its user base over the years, with MAUs reaching 10 million in 2019, 13 million in 2021 and 18 million in 2023.

An increase in foreign users contributed to Papago’s growing popularity as international travel recovers following the easing of social distancing measures.

The data showed that the number of overseas users jumped 27 percent to 5.41 million last month from a year ago. In May last year, the number increased sharply by 95 percent on year.

Papago provides AI-assisted translations in 16 languages, including English, Chinese, Japanese and Arabic.

Meanwhile, a separate survey conducted in March by the Ministry of Culture, Sports and Tourism showed that 48.3 percent of foreign visitors to Korea used Papago for translation services during their travels.