French PM Ayrault's name poses translation problems for South Korea media

SEOUL (AFP) - Visiting French Prime Minister Jean-Marc Ayrault presented South Korean media with a novel headache on Thursday: how to transcribe his name.

The daily Chosun Ilbo, the country's widest-circulation newspaper, chose Korean script that signifies "erotic" while Yonhap news agency also used a translation that means "difficulty".

The French embassy in Seoul, which issued a statement on the arrival of the head of the French government in Korean, chose a neutral translation by omitting the letter "r".

Last year Ayrault left Arabic-language media in a similar, though slightly more embarrassing, quandary.

Transcribed into Arabic from the French pronunciation of his name, "Ayrault" refers in several Arabic dialects to the male sexual organ.