Wednesday, January 13, 2016

낭만에 대하여 / On Romance

This is my English translation of the song "On Romance" written and sung by Choi Baek-ho. I did my best to keep the original meaning but it was very difficult as the original Korean lyrics are much like a poem.


낭만에 대하여
On Romance
Note: Nangman or rangman (浪漫) is Japanese transliteration of the word 'roman'. The same Chinese letters (Kanji or Hanja) are read as [ro:man] in Japanese. In English, 'romance' or 'romantic' usually means something about love between lovers. In Korean and in Japanese, it means something beautiful, wonderful, dreamy, and fancy, not particularly restricted to love affairs. I looked up the Oxford English dictionary and the Korean/Japanese meaning is close to the second meaning: "A quality or feeling of mystery, excitement, and remoteness from everyday life: 'the romance of the sea'"
I could not think of a better translation for 'nangman', so I used 'romance' but keep in mind that the 'romance' in this song is not about love affairs but the second meaning of the Oxford dictionary.

궂은 비 내리는 날
그야말로 옛날식 다방에 앉아
도라지 위스키 한 잔에다
짙은 색소폰 소릴 들어 보렴
Try to listen to the deep sound of a saxophone with a glass of Toraji whiskey sitting inside a really old-fashioned cafe on a heavy rainy day.
Note: According to my web search, Toraji whisky was a Korean knock-off alcoholic beverage of famous Japanese Tory's whiskey. It was considered an expensive drink during the 1960~70's in Korea.

샛빨간 립스틱에
나름대로 멋을 부린 마담에게
실없이 던지는 농담사이로
짙은 색소폰 소릴 들어 보렴
Try to listen to the deep sound of a saxophone while you tell empty jokes to the hostess  who is wearing strong red lipstick and makeup she thought was pretty.

이제 와 새삼 이 나이에
실연의 달콤함이야 있겠냐마는
왠지 한 곳이 비어 있는
내 가슴이 잃어 버린 것에 대하여
I should not experience the sweet sad feeling of losing a lover suddenly again at this age, but there is an empty place inside my heart for some reason I do not understand, and I ponder on the things that my heart has lost.

밤늦은 항구에서
그야말로 연락선 선창가에서
돌아 올 사람은 없을지라도
슬픈 뱃고동 소릴 들어보렴
Listen to the sentimental siren of ships, even though you are expecting no one, at a port late at night, at the very wharf of ferries.

첫사랑 그 소녀는 어디에서 나처럼 늙어갈까
가 버린 세월이 서글퍼지는
슬픈 뱃고동 소릴 들어보렴
I wonder the girl whom I loved for the first time in my life is getting old as I am, somewhere. Listen to the sentimental siren of ships that make you feel nostalgic about the times which have passed.

이제 와 새삼 이 나이에
청춘의 미련이야 있겠냐마는
왠지 한 곳이 비어 있는 내 가슴에
다시 못 올 것에 대하여
낭만에 대하여
I should not miss my youth suddenly again at this age, but there is an empty place inside my heart for some reason I do not understand, and I ponder on the things that shall never come to my heart again, I ponder on romance.

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