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

Post a Comment

Popular posts from this blog

English Lesson: "한국에 오신지 얼마나 됐어요?"라고 영어로?

I've lost count of how many times Koreans have asked me the question, "How long do you stay in Korea?" in those words or something very similar. Clearly this question is taught in every English class in Korea, because I hear it over and over again, so I just wanted to be very clear about something here:

DO NOT USE THIS EXPRESSION. IT IS INCORRECT.

This phrase is incorrect for a few reasons, but primarily because it sounds ambiguous to native English speakers. Specifically, there are probably two different questions that you really want to ask:

1) How long have you been in Korea? (한국에 오신지 얼마나 됐어요?)
2) How long will you stay in Korea? (한국에 얼마나 있을 거예요?/한국에 얼마동안 있을 계획이에요?)

Nearly always the intended question is number 1, "How long have you been in Korea?", followed afterwards by number 2, "How long will you stay in Korea?". But the incorrectly stated question ambiguously sounds somewhere in between number 1 and number 2. So, don't ever use it again. T…

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…

Stuttering in Korea

I had given up on English. It's my native language, but I figured after 30 some-odd years of disfluent speech, it was time to try something else. So I signed up for language classes in Korean, rationalizing that if I was going to try to teach myself how to speak, I might as well learn a new language along the way.

This might seem completely insane, but when the prevailing theme of your conscious thoughts for multiple decades is some variant of "Why can't I say what I want to say?", you come up with lots of crazy ideas.

For background, I've been a person who stutters for my entire life. I wrote about it on this blog a few years ago, so I think it's time for a followup. I've learned a lot since then, about myself and about stuttering, but in this post I simply want to give some insight into what it's actually like to stutter, and how my speech has changed over time.

After the last stuttering post, the predominant reaction I got from friends was either &…