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"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

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