Skip to main content

"Gangnam Style" English Translation

I finally got around to looking up the lyrics to Psy's "Gangnam Style" last night. I couldn't find any English translations that I liked, so I decided to make my own.

Disclaimer: I don't speak Korean. It's not my first language. It's not even my second or third language. But I did used to live in Gangnam, and the Internets abound with dictionaries, so I decided to give it a go. Incidentally, this is also my first foray into Korean-English translation. The translators out there will know - translation is as much art as science. If you translate directly, you end up with overly awkward constructions. But if you vary too much from the direct translation, you risk losing the original intent. So, in some places below, I've taken some poetic license to make the translation sound better. For example, "놀 땐 노는 여자" literally means "a girl who plays when it's time to play", but I changed it to "a girl who knows how to get down". In other places, I couldn't really figure out the intent, so I just guessed (e.g., "웬만한 노출보다"). And in yet other places, I tried to read between the lines, since he's clearly saying more than what the words literally are (e.g., "지금부터 갈 때까지 가볼까"). In any case, enjoy, and hopefully the actual Korean-English bilingual people out there will help out on the places I've screwed up.

Here's the video, in case you've been living under a rock:



Lyrics, in hangeul and English.

-----------------------------


오빤 강남스타일
Oppa’s got “Gangnam style”

강남스타일
Gangnam style

낮에는 따사로운 인간적인 여자
A girl who’s so warm and humane during the day

커피 한잔의 여유를 아는 품격 있는 여자
A classy girl who knows how to relax over a cup of coffee

밤이 오면 심장이 뜨거워지는 여자
But when night comes, her heart heats up

그런 반전 있는 여자
That kind of two-sided girl

나는 사나이
I’m a man

낮에는 너만큼 따사로운 그런 사나이
The kinda guy who’s just as warm as you during the day

커피 식기도 전에 원샷 때리는 사나이
A guy who downs his coffee with one shot before it gets cold

밤이 오면 심장이 터져버리는 사나이
But when night comes, I’m a man whose heart explodes

그런 사나이
That kinda man

아름다워  사랑스러워
Beautiful, lovely

그래 너 hey 그래 바로 너 hey
That’s you, hey, that’s totally you, hey

아름다워 사랑스러워
Beautiful, lovely

그래 너 hey 그래 바로 너 hey
That’s you, hey, that’s totally you, hey

지금부터 갈 때까지 가볼까
Shall we give it a go until we make it all the way?

오빤 강남스타일
Oppa’s got Gangnam style

강남스타일
Gangnam style

오-오-오-오

오빤 강남스타일
Oppa’s got Gangnam style

강남스타일
Gangnam style

오-오-오-오

오빤 강남스타일
Oppa’s got Gangnam style

Ayyyyy, sexy lady!

오-오-오-오

오빤 강남스타일
Oppa’s got Gangnam style

Ayyyyy, sexy lady!

오-오-오-오

정숙해 보이지만 놀 땐 노는 여자
A girl who looks so pure but knows how to get down

이때다 싶으면 묶었던 머리 푸는 여자
A girl who lets her hair down when the time is right

가렸지만 웬만한 노출보다 야한 여자
A girl who tries to hide it but is even sexier than what’s barely exposed

그런 감각적인 여자
That kind of sensuous girl

나는 사나이
I’m a man

점잖아 보이지만 놀 땐 노는 사나이
A guy who looks like a gentleman but knows how to get down

때가 되면 원전 미쳐버리는 사나이
A guy who goes completely crazy when the time comes

근육보다 사상이 울퉁불퉁한 사나이
A guy whose ideas are even more rugged than his muscles

그런 사나이
That kinda man

아름다워  사랑스러워
Beautiful, lovely

그래 너 hey 그래 바로 너 hey
That’s you, hey, that’s totally you

아름다워 사랑스러워
Beautiful, lovely

그래 너 hey 그래 바로 너 hey
That’s you, hey, that’s totally you

지금부터 갈 때까지 가볼까
Shall we give it a go until we make it all the way?

오빤 강남스타일
Oppa’s got Gangnam style

강남스타일
Gangnam style

오-오-오-오

오빤 강남스타일
Oppa’s got Gangnam style

강남스타일
Gangnam style

오-오-오-오

오빤 강남스타일
Oppa’s got Gangnam style

Ayyyyy, sexy lady!

오-오-오-오

오빤 강남스타일
Oppa’s got Gangnam style

Ayyyyy, sexy lady!

오-오-오-오

뛰는 놈 그 위에 나는 놈
A guy who flies above those who run

baby baby

나는 뭘 좀 아는 놈
I’m a guy who knows a little something

뛰는 놈 그 위에 나는 놈
A guy who flies above those who run

baby baby

나는 뭘 좀 아는 놈
I’m a guy who knows a little something

You know what I’m saying?

오빤 강남스타일
Oppa’s got Gangnam style

Ayyyyy, sexy lady!

오-오-오-오-오빤 강남스타일
Oppa’s got Gangnam style

Ayyyyy, sexy lady!

오-오-오-오

오빤 강남스타일
Oppa’s got Gangnam style

Comments

  1. Wow, I'm very impressed. Your translation of Gangnam Style is definitely awesome!
    but, I think '사나이' is..not just a man, it's more likely manly man as american said.
    and a Oppa(오빠)means a sister's old brother,but I respect your translation because we don't need too much explanation especilly when we transtlate a song.

    ReplyDelete
  2. Yep, 사나이 means "manly man", or "a real man", or something like that. If you translate "오빠" directly, it means "a girl's older brother/male friend", but for a song translation, that sounds too awkward, so I left it as "oppa" in order to sound better.

    ReplyDelete
  3. Thank you very much for the sharing! COOL..Certified translation agency

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thanks! Glad you liked it.

      Delete

Post a Comment

Popular posts from this blog

Why Korean Is Hard For Native English Speakers

A couple of days ago, as an experiment, I wrote my first blog post ever in a non-English language. It was an attempt to explain some of the reasons that Korean is hard to learn for native English speakers, so I figured I might as well try to write it in Korean. Those of you who actually read Korean can see how awkward the attempt was =).

In any case, the post came from an email conversation I had with The Korean from Ask a Korean, a fantastically well-written blog about all things Korea from the perspective of a Korean who moved to the United States during high school. Since I tend to geek out on language things, I figured I might as well post part of that conversation. An edited version follows.

---------

Out of the languages that I've attempted to learn so far, Korean has been the hardest. I've done a lot of meta thinking about learning Korean, and I think there are a number of reasons it's difficult for non-Koreans (and especially Westerners) to learn:

1) Obviously, the…

영어가 모국어인 사람들은 왜 한국어를 배우기가 어려운 이유

이 포스트는 내 처음 한국어로 블로그 포스트인데, 한국어에 대하니까 잘 어울린다. =) 자, 시작합시다! 왜 외국사람에게 한국어를 배우기가 어렵다? 난 한국어를 배우고 있는 사람이라서 이 문제에 대해 많이 생각하고 있었다. 여러가지 이유가 있는데 오늘 몇 이유만 논할 것이다.

1. 분명히 한국어 문법은 영어에 비해 너무 많이 다른다. 영어는 “오른쪽으로 분지(分枝)의 언어"라고 하는데 한국어는 “왼쪽으로 분지의 언어"이다. 뜻이 무엇이나요? 예를 보면 이해할 수 있을 것이다. 간단한 문장만 말하면 (외국어를 말하는 남들은 간단한 문장의 수준을 지낼 수가 약간 드물다), 간단한 걸 기억해야 돼: 영어는 “SVO”인데 한국어는 “SOV”이다. “I’m going to school”라고 한국어로는 “저는 학교에 가요"라고 말한다. 영어로 똑바로 번역하면 “I’m school to go”이다. 두 언어 다르는 게 목적어와 동사의 곳을 교환해야 한다. 별로 어렵지 않다. 하지만, 조금 더 어렵게 만들자. “I went to the restaurant that we ate at last week.” 한국어로는 “전 우리 지난 주에 갔던 식당에 또 갔어요"라고 말한다. 영어로 똑바로 번역하면 “I we last week went to restaurant to again went”말이다. 한국어가 왼쪽으로 분지 언어라서 문장 중에 왼쪽으로 확대한다! 이렇게 좀 더 쉽게 볼 수 있다: “전 (우리 지난 주에 갔던 식당)에 또 갔어요”. 주제가 “전"이고 동사가 “갔다"이고 목적어가 “우리 지난 주에 갔던 식당"이다. 영어 문장은 오른쪽으로 확대한다: I (S) went (V) to (the restaurant (that we went to (last week))) (O). 그래서 두 숙어 문장 만들고 싶으면 생각속에서도 순서를 변해야 된다.

2. 첫 째 점이니까 다른 사람을 자기 말을 아라들게 하고 싶으면, 충분히 …

Don't Take Korean Language Advice From Kyopos

I'm not sure why it took me so long to figure this out, but the last people you should take Korean language advice from are kyopos (foreign-born or raised Koreans). That being said, if you do follow their advice, you will get many laughs from Koreans. Some of my personal favorites, all of which actually happened to me:

- When I first got to Korea, I was at some open-air event, and during a break I started talking to one of the hosts. He said he was only a part-time host, so I asked him what his full-time job was, and he said "백수" (which is slang for "unemployed guy"). I asked him what that was, and he replied, "Comedian". So then the next few people I met, I proudly told I was a baeksu. (Edit: Actually, this guy was Korean Korean, not kyopo.)

- Next, a kyopo who lived in the apartment I moved into back in 2010 asked me what I was doing in Korea, and I told him I was starting a company, and asked how to say that in Korean in case people ask. He told me…