Short Translation Requests

I check this blog sometimes daily, and sometimes not for few weeks.  But if you don’t mind the unpredictable waiting, I figured I’d offer kind of informal translation service for short things. ^^

Please feel free to request in comments:

-translation of short excerpts  (eg.  less than 10 lines please)
-clarification of translations that may have multiple meanings
-cultural connotation around something

BTS lyrics related is fine, but if you have anything that you would like clarified (like some of my ramblings that are not lyrics related, or from an article or something), those are fine as well.

If there are requests that are super complicated/interesting, I’ll see if I can make it a full post.



31 thoughts on “Short Translation Requests

  1. Hi! Thank you for your incredibly insightful translations! Just wondering– I know you’ve mentioned before that First Love isn’t particularly a song that gets lost in translation, but I was wondering if you knew the reason why it would get banned from Korean television/radio broadcasts? Is there any swearing? Hell, in a lot of their title songs there’s swearing, but why First Love getting banned? A song about…..a man’s relationship to his piano…..? Thanks in advance!

    1. he does swear in the song thats why. he says ‘saekkiya’ which is considered a bad word esp on broadcasts. also im pretty sure theres no swearing in their title songs or that’ll be banned too

    2. Umm as far as I know he was banned because he cursed. “새꺄 너는 진짜 할 수 있다고” which translates to “Bastard you can really do it”. The word “새꺄” is a slang that can translate to you bastard/punk, or to “bro” if you are referring to a really close friend. S. Korea is really strict when it comes to any kind of cursing or strong/explicit language on live broadcast, so I am not the least bit surprised that they’ve banned a beautiful song because of 1 word.

    3. Yup. As other people have commented, I think it’s because of 새꺄. short for 새끼야.

      새끼 is like… a baby/kid, usually for animal babies. If you refer it to people, it’s generally short for 개새끼, literally “son of bitch”.
      개새끼 is a strong term, like “son of bitch” but 새끼 is somewhere between “punk” and “bastard”.

      This term is weird, because sometimes it’s considered strong enough to be censored and sometimes not. I guess it depends on whoever is reviewing it.

  2. Okay so there’s a line in BTS’ “Move” that is generating a debate over the correct translation.
    Suga says “Ever since I was born I counted the days for my first move, I remember, why I had to move The machine in my mom’s heart and the big scar.” But some people also say that the line is “Before I was born, I counted the days for my first move in my mom’s tummy. My move’s price was the machine in her heart and the big scar.” And then some people think that it’s “For the first time inside my mother’s belly, I counted my first move. In faint memories, the price for my first move were the machines in my mother’s heart and the wide scar.” Can you please tell me which one is the correct translation?

      1. 난생 처음 엄마의 뱃속에서
        나의 첫 이사 날을 세곤 했어
        희미한 기억 나의 이사의 대가는
        엄마 심장의 기계와 광활한 흉터였어

        The second one is most correct I think…

        For the first time in my life, in my mom’s tummy
        I counted the days until my first move
        The price of the move that I faintly remember
        Was a machine and massive scar on my mom’s heart.

        He talks about this part in his review of HYYH pt 1

        Being born used as metaphor as a type of move, from first home (mom’s belly) into the world.
        And he said his mom was very unwell at his birth and had to get surgery.

  3. Hi Muish,

    I am back. :-) thanks for opening this request line. I just heard the new Gaeko x RM collab. Here is the link of English translation to his verses ( Can you help me understanding this “fish” “selfish” “starfish”?

    Gajah: RM verse
    “think about it, will we become stars?
    or will we become starfish?
    no disrespect for starfish, but
    if you want a fish be selfish”

    In “Am I Wrong”, there is also the line
    “A fish lives in everyone’s hearts.
    Its name is SELFISH SELFISH”

    I think there is some kind of wordplay involving the Korean word “fish”… but can’t tell. Can you help?

    1. The site you linked has fairly accurate translation. ^^ His lyrics in this song are fairly straight forward, so I don’t know if there’s much hidden meaning.

      One thing I did notice that I thought was cool… unlike English, there is no “star” in the word “starfish” in Korean. So if you read the lyrics in Korean, it’s not obvious at the beginning. Why is he saying become “byul (star)” or “boogasari (starfish)”?? A space related term and a sea organism? Until you picture it in your mind and realize they’re the same shape, and in English, they’re both stars… except one is big and important while the other is not.

      There is also no “fish” in Korean word for “starfish”… so if you’re a Korean and don’t know that “boogasari” are called star fish, you might be scratching your head going… star? star fish? fish? selfish? how are these related???

      This is a weird case where the translation makes the word play more simple in English than if a Korean were to listen to it (especially if they didn’t know English well).

      The other word play is about the piano/music.

      The lyrics say “If your discordant tune with the world is especially frequent”
      And also, “We’re like the black keys. For sure you’re also part of the piano.. Sit still and play the black keys.”

      The website you linked translated it as “play sharps and flats” but the lyrics don’t actually liteally mention the sharps and flats. It’s implied in playing the black keys. The black keys in piano are used to play “flats”, and in music “flat notes” are notes sung in a discordant way. So this is implied/musical imagery.

      Also, “you’re…part of piano” seems to imply “you’re part of the world”. And “play the black keys” could imply “continue with the discord with the world”

      There is also some busines terms re: “setting our values, and high-pressure sells us life-long loneliness”.
      Reminds me of stock market terms in his lyrics in Dope. ^^

    1. I’ll try to do this as a regular post sometime, since in total, it is very long. I had meant to translate some of his early stuff….. It will probably take me few days to few weeks, depending on how busy my work gets.

  4. Hello Muish ^^

    This is S from France. I appreciate your blog a lot. I love litterature, poetry and rap, and I love Rap Monster’s lyricism but thanks to you I appreciate it all the more. What I like most in your blog is reading a different pov from mine, for instance when it comes to your own appreciation of Suga and his work.

    I do have a request : There was this poetry book that Rapmon once showed off and recommended. Here’s the video on youtube.
    Do you know this writer? (Mr Shim??) I couldn’t find it. Is his work translated at all? I would love anything you could tell me about this book.

    And you know what, if you have any recommendations for translated Korean poetry, that would be great too!

    I found a few translations if you want to take a look. In this video there are two (dailymotion go to 5:02).
    Btw, I studied translation studies in french/english so yeah, I tend to ramble about this kind of things too lol, sorry.

    1st translation:
    If I had known then what I know now
    I would have listened to what my heart had said
    And lived more happily without worrying so much
    True beauty is remembering the things that happen in life

    Love more passionately and worry less on the minute details
    Although a trial may have ended in a failure
    Believe that there is something waiting at the end of the journey

    2nd translation: (my favourite, it seems closer to the original)
    If I had known the things that I know now in the past time also
    I would have lended my ear to what my heart was telling me more often
    I would have enjoyed life more and would have worried less
    I would have remembered that the true beauty is in the living of life

    3rd translation:
    If I knew this would happen, I would have listened to heart, living my life to the fullest and stop thinking too much
    Please remember the things that you love in life
    Love passionately and you’ll be less worried
    Even though you would failed, believe that there’ll be something valuable at the end of the road

    It’s all in the same rhyme and I love listening to it in korean !!

    Oh and another thing : you shouldn’t be afraid of watching the 4 Things Show (maybe you already have by now), I get the feeling but it’s really very good, and the guys who make fun of Namjoon are 11leven and Supreme Boi and you can tell that’s because they’re extremely close friends.

    Anyways enjoy the BTS comeback and the new songs ^^ My favourite line from Spring Day is “Maybe it’s cherry blossoms And this winter will be over” when Jimin sings at 4:05 it’s very powerful ^^

    Bye for now!!!!

    1. This is actually funny because that poem is actually an English poem. ^^ He was reading the translated version.

      The video was translated wrong. It wasn’t written by Mr. Shim, but it was recommended by his psychology teacher (shim-ri-hak teacher). It is a collection of translated poetry by different people.

      The original poetry is “If I Knew Then What I Know Now…” by Kimberly Kirberger.

      Other poems in this book include Herman Hesse’s “Being Happy”

      “17th century nun’s prayer”, writer unknwon's%20Prayer.html

      “If” by Rudyard Kipling.

      “After a while” by Veronica Shoffstall

      There are a lot more, but kinda too many to list. This site seems to have it all uploaded in Korean..

      As for Korean poems….. I don’t know very many. ^^

      Of the ones BTS mentioned, maybe read the Azeleas (influencing J-hope’s 1verse??)

      Or: maybe read the works of Kim Chunsu (from BTS run 11) ^^

      Why is it always J-Hope with these poetry?

      1. Yeah that’s kinda funny, who woulda thought.
        I was looking around this poem and found this link, for anyone interested. The first poem on the page called “Please Listen” is really good.

        Thank you for putting all these links here, I have plenty to explore now. The Azeleas page especially is very interesting.
        I’m loving Veronica Shoffstall’s, and Kipling of course is a king.
        J-Hope’s father is a lit teacher so I guess that makes sense! Oh and there is Herman Hesse again ^^

  5. I just saw this and I NEEDED to say thank you and tell you how much of a kind-hearted person you are. You’re so nice offering to translate stuff like this, I always read your ramblings and translations, I love them! Thank you for putting time and effort into this, I trully appreciate it! You’re the best ♡♡♡

  6. Hello!
    In Never Mind there is a line 구르지 않는 돌에는 필시끼기 마련이거든 이끼 which I found translated as “Moss surely grows on a stone that doesn’t roll”
    In my language there is a saying that literally translates as “Water doesn’t flow under a still rock” and means you should do sth (or the rock should move) so that something (positive) happens (water flow)|don’t be lazy
    And thats’ why Suga’s line confuses me) Does he mean he should be strong and enduring so that something good happens? Where does the phrase come from?

    1. 실패나 좌절 맛보고 고개 숙여도 돼
      우리는 아직 젊고 어려 걱정 붙들어매
      구르지 않는 돌에는 필시 끼기 마련이거든 이끼
      돌아갈 수 없다면 직진

      “Moss surely grows on a stone that doesn’t roll” is quite accurate. I think this is not based on any pre-exisiting saying. (I’ve never heard of this phrase before so tried googling it for time before the album came out, and didn’t get anything).

      The lyrics are roughly:
      It’s okay if you taste failure and frustration and bow your head down
      We’re still young kids, so don’t worry
      Moss surely grows on a stone that doesn’t roll
      If you can’t go back, then go forward.
      I guess it’s trying to say that even if you make mistakes, don’t just stop and dwell on it so long (that moss grows on you). Unless you can go back to past and undo these mistakes, go forward.

      I see it as kind of… encouragement. Even if you feel like you’re a failure, have courage to move on. Don’t just stay obsessed over that failure for a long time, not doing anything.

      As someone who is in 30’s, having gone through mistakes/failures as well as many good moments in life, this is very true. If you make a mistake/have something bad in life, and dwell on this mistake while making no actions to improve the situation… well.. eventually, that bad thing will start to define you. But instead of spending all your time, stopped, dwelling on it… if you spend all that time making positive changes… over time, you can fill your life with positive things that outweigh the bad.^^

        1. not entirely sure but im Asian and its a pretty common saying. It kinda means moss doesnt grow on a rolling stone and since moss is kinda not a great thing, its like saying as long as you keep working hard, you wont ‘become bad..?/useless’
          how do i say this lol.. people i know use it for example lets say..youre studying math, and then if you keep practicing you wont get worse at it, but if you stop doing it, you definitely forget/get rusty? something like that..i think

  7. Rap Monster released this song called “Illest Bitch” (lol) predebut and I thought it sounded familiar so i was wondering if he used some of those lyrics in other songs (like yoongi did when he put we are bulletproof lyrics in agust d). its been bugging me since i heard it!!! please help!! thanks in advance! :D

    1. I can’t say I would recognize all of BTS lyrics off the top of my head, so I’m not sure… but so far I haven’t seen him use any of the lines from “Illest Bitch” in other songs. ^^

      the translation on this vid is fairly good. There’s not a lot of word play (and it seems like more than half the lyrics are in English anyway..)

      One word play I did notice:
      완전 빛이나, 빛이 at 48 seconds –> You’re totally radiant, you glow.
      The last word “glow/shiny/radiant”, in Korean would be pronounced “bitchie”, similar to.. obviously.. the “bitch” in the song. –> “You’re totally radiant, bitchie”

      I was unable to find written Korean lyrics of this song though…. but I think, based on what I can hear, the lyrics video is fairly accurate.

    2. I don’t know korean but based off the english translations (and the sounds I hear lol) there are some lines that remind me of lyrics from other bts songs. Some are probably a bit farfetched though oops. I guess they’re just common ideas/way of expressing things (?) that I found :D English translations here credited and

      Illest Bitch – “A white shirt, jean shorts and red converse high tops, that’s it (uh)”
      Converse High – “White t-shirt, jeans and red Converse Highs, that’s it”

      Illest Bitch – “You are so radiant, you glow. /That t-shirt you’re wearing is pretty./ You’re my truth and my reason…”
      21st Century Girls – “You look elegant, elegant also you’re pretty, pretty/
      You shine, shine. You’re the truth and the reason.”

      Illest Bitch – “which star are you from?”
      Where Did You Come From – “[Whether] If you’re from the moon or the stars”

      Illest Bitch – “You’re a flower, I’m a bee…”
      Look Here – “You’re a flower and I’m a bee”

      Illest Bitch – “When you pass by the guys they say ‘Uh yeah!’/ When you pass by the girls they say, ‘Oh… her?’ ”
      21st Century Girls – “You pass by, the guys say/ Oh yeah what is she, who is she/ They go out of their mind, the girls say/ Oh what is she, who is she”

      Of course there’s also his mentioning expensive brands and some other stuff that is similar to the examples above.

      Also if you don’t know already it’s a technically a cover of Wale’s Illest Bitch so maybe you found it familiar because of that but idk.

      1. Wow. You know their lyrics really well!! :O
        I wasn’t sure about the details so I looked up the lyrics. I can’t find the Korean written lyrics for Illest bitch, so based on what I can hear…
        Illest Bitch – “A white shirt, jean shorts and red converse high tops, that’s it (uh)”
        Converse High – “White t-shirt, jeans and red Converse Highs, that’s it”

        흰 티에 청 반바지 빨간 컨버스하이 that’s it
        –> you’re right. I think this is almost the same. ^^
        Illest Bitch – “You are so radiant, you glow. /That t-shirt you’re wearing is pretty./ You’re my truth and my reason…”
        21st Century Girls – “You look elegant, elegant also you’re pretty, pretty/
        You shine, shine. You’re the truth and the reason.”

        Illest bitch – 완전 (빛이나 빛이), 네가 입으면 (귀티나 귀티), (넌) 나의 (진리이자 이치)
        21 C girls – 넌 귀티나 귀티 또 pretty야 pretty 빛이나 빛이 넌 진리이자 이치

        They use a lot of the same phrases, arranged in different order. (the parts that are same in brackets)

        Illest Bitch – “which star are you from?”
        Where Did You Come From – “[Whether] If you’re from the moon or the stars”

        Illest Bitch – 어느 별에서 왔니?
        Where did you come fron – 니가 달에서 아니면 별에서 왔다 해도 난 상관없어

        The phrasing is not similar at all (although the idea of being in love even if the girl is an alien is still the same)

        Illest Bitch – “You’re a flower, I’m a bee…”
        Look Here – “You’re a flower and I’m a bee”
        Illest Bitch – 원래 아름다운 꽃은 벌이 꼬여 (It’s only natural that beautiful flower would be surrounded by bees)
        Look Here – 너는 꽃이고 나는 벌이야 (you’re a flower and I’m a bee)

        so phrasing is very difficult, although again, the idea seem similar.

        Illest Bitch – “When you pass by the guys they say ‘Uh yeah!’/ When you pass by the girls they say, ‘Oh… her?’ ”
        21st Century Girls – “You pass by, the guys say/ Oh yeah what is she, who is she/ They go out of their mind, the girls say/ Oh what is she, who is she”

        Illest Bitch – 남자들은 네가 지나가면 say, “Uh yeah”, 여자들은 네가 나타나면 say, “Oh her?”

        21 C Girls – 너 지나가네 남자들이 say, “Oh yeah 쟤 뭐야 대체 누구야?”
        넋이 나가네 여자들이 say “어 얘는 또 뭐야 대체 누구야?”

        again, different phrasing (the translation you have is fairly accurate for the differences)


        That was fun. ^^
        Some recycling of phrases from the Illest Bitch, and others do have similar ideas but different phrasing. ^^

  8. Hello! I really love reading your translations! I have a request, but it isn’t translation related, I read in one of your ramblings about some cultural context in Korea that need separate post, would you consider posting more about cultural stuff in your point of view? Like how darker color skin related to social class or about gender issue and stuff. Thank you!

    1. In terms of skin tone issues, I don’t know if I can add more than what I’ve written in my RM/SPIN ramblings. The gist of it is that majority of racism in Korea is not skin color based (it’s between Korean/Chinese/Japanese), and when they used to have class systems, obviously the farmers were more tanned than the aristocrats. They no longer have class systems, so your social rank is not really relevant to skin color anymore (in fact, sometimes only the well off gets to go on vacation and get a tan), but people still associate darker tans with kids/tomboys/farmers/being masculine, etc.

      I don’t want my blog to be a debate blog of controversial issues but I feel like a blog can be biased enough by choosing what information it presents.. so I guess there’s no way to completely avoid it…..

      I’ll probably eventually do a post on Gender Issues, as a list of topics that influence Gender issues (eg. Confucism/birth rate/military service/job market), etc.. I made a draft with list of topics at one point and there were already like more than 30 topics…. so I don’t know when that would be completed.

  9. This is kind of silly, but I’ve always wondered if Blanket Kick was meant to be kind of a dirty song? I mean, the image of teenage boys fantasizing about girls while thrashing around in bed…it conjures those thoughts… but on the other hand its instrumental is played so sweetly and innocently, like a lullaby. It also has some of the cutest dance choreo from bts ever with the soft movements and the fluffy bed…but then again, at one point the boys all pretend to make out with each other… ah, it’s so confusing? Does the original korean convey this sort of sexual undertone in its lyrics or does the “blanket kick” in this song literally mean “kicking your blanket in frustration” and im just interpreting it perversely??? Thanks in advance!

    1. The “blanket kick” in general means “kicking your blanket in embarrassment over acting like a fool during the day”. The phrase of “blanket kick” usually has no sexual undertones, and is an act of exceeding embarrassment. I think… the type of severe mortified embarrassment that would immediately make you not horny at all. ^^

      The song’s about being awkward + tongue-tied + making lame jokes, and then regretting it at night, and feeling embarrassed.

      The part with Suga, about trying to kiss the girl and failing because her father calls her on the phone…. is more about just being frustrated. It is true that the song is not 100% about just being embarrassed, but other misadventures in trying to date. ^^

      However, in general, the way the term is used in Korea is for being just embarrassed – often, not just in romantic relationships but in general, like doing something foolish in school/work situations too.

  10. Hi~ I really appreciate your translations. They help me understand the deeper meaning of the lyrics, and teach me a lot about Korean culture. I was actually a little curious about you :) Which country do you live in? Are you Korean? And how did you choose the name muish?

    1. I live in Canada now but I was born in Korea. I tend to read/watch a lot of Korean stuff even while living in Canada, from news to books, to random blogs, to kdramas. I do have to say, there are lots of gaps in my knowledge still… so I do try to look up stuff before I post things.
      I chose the name muish long ago when I used to sub stuff. Mr. muish called me “mui mui” or “muishie” at times…and “muish” was the only thing I could think of when i started subbing and was trying to come up w new ID. Scary to think that was already like 10 years ago. Gah.

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