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i have a sentence as follows:

직장인에게 있어 재충전을 위한 여가 활동은 매우 중요하다

What does "있어" mean? I translated 있어 into english using google translate and it says that 있어 means "for (직장인에게)", but why is that?

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    As you have noticed, 있어 is unnecessary for that sentence. Some people call it translationese. This post says that the usage came from literal translation (from Japanese to Korean).
    – Klmo
    Aug 21 at 13:17
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    Related to this question.
    – Klmo
    Aug 21 at 13:36
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    It corresponds to "に取って," if you know Japanese. Aug 22 at 6:24
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X-에게 있어 (or 있어서, the original form before contraction) signifies "considering it from the standpoint of X" or "as it pertains to X".

X-에게 있어서 = X-에게 (to X) 있다 (belongs/pertains) + -아/어서 (as).
(It sets the basis of the discussion to X)

It is a literary phrase which might be translated as "for X", "when it comes to X", "as it concerns X", etc. It can often be simply dropped without changing the meaning (but this doesn't mean it is always useless).

  • 배우에게 있어서 언어 구사 능력은 필수적이다 = 배우에게 언어 구사 능력은 ...
  • 영업 사원에게 있어서 고객 관리만큼 중요한 건 없다 = 영업 사원에게 고객 관리만큼 ...

There is also -에 있어(서) which is similar but used for matters and events (에게 is for people whereas 에 is for things). X-에 있어(서) can be translated as "in the matter of X" or "concerning / regarding / as regards X", and might be simplified to 에서.

  • 이번 조직개편에 있어서 특기할 점은 새로 만들어지는 부서다 = 이번 조직개편에서 특기할 점은 ...
  • 대제국의 출현과 쇠망에 있어서 어김없이 나타나는 현상이 있다 = 대제국의 출현과 쇠망에서 어김없이 ...
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