Translating Butterflies: The Korean Version of dodie’s “Would You Be So Kind”

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One night, when I was still feeling the effects of my late afternoon coffee, I had dodie’s song “Would You Be So Kind” stuck in my head and as I was humming it, I flipped some parts into Korean to see how they felt. I’m not fluent in Korean, but the words in dodie’s song were simple enough for me to translate with some degree of confidence. And because they felt nice in Korean, I kept on doing it and by the time it was midnight, I translated the entire song into Korean.

I stared down at the scribbles, a bit in disbelief that it was real. I always thought that translating a song would be so much harder, but with a mix of determination and the residual effects of coffee, I was able to push my way through the whole song without too much of a headache.

The next step was to record it and share it. But just the thought of it stressed me out, because I hadn’t tried to record and arrange something in a while because of technical difficulties (involving a silicone bead, broken headphones, and overthinking). But I told myself that 2018 would be different, that I would push myself and just try, at least, to put myself out there, step by step each month. I already did so with my poetry by submitting to the Iowa Chapbook prize and the Kundiman fellowship, so why hold back from my music (even though I felt like it wasn’t fully up to par)?

So, two days away from the end of January, I did it. I felt like I kind of had to at this point, because the Korean version was stuck in my head and I wanted to share it with the hopes of it reaching dodie herself because I knew that I’d love to see my music in translated and I thought she might like it. (fingers crossed that she’ll see it eventually!)

So there I was, sitting on my apartment floor, listening to a metronome from my iPad, recording on my phone, and putting everything together on my computer via Google drive. And it worked! And even better, my dear friend who plays the cello added her wonderful playing and it sparkled even more! And her comments were encouraging, that the Korean version felt different and that some translated lines resonated well with her.

Here’s the SoundCloud link! And scroll down to see the lyrics and some translation notes~

LYRICS

verse 1

한 질문 있어

I have a question

이상한데

It’s weird

너의 폐들

Your lungs,

지금 어때? *instead of translating to “are they in pain”, I kept it short to fit the rhythm and to rhyme

Are they okay?

 

왜냐하면 내꺼는 아파

Because mine are hurting

이유 알것 같은데

I think I know the reason why

이 느낌 참 좋아

I quite like the feeling

한번 할래?

Wanna try once?

 

chorus

예의상 한번 나를 사랑해줄래?

By courtesy, could you love me once?

난 너무 열심히 노력하는데

I’m trying so hard

널 좋아하는 걸 안 충분해

My liking you isn’t enough

그래서 날 사랑해줄래?

So could you love me?

 

아주 힘든 일 아니야 *I changed from “I think it’s only fair” to “It’s not too hard” for rhyming reasons

It’s not too hard

그냥 내 감정들 잡아 *the original is ‘there’s gotta be some butterflies somewhere’ and butterflies mean emotions in this saying so I went for a literal translation because it’d sound weird if I translated it to butterflies

Just grab onto my feelings/emotions

난 너를 좋아하는 걸 안 충분해

My liking you isn’t enough

그래서 날 사랑해줄래?

So could you love me?

 

verse 2

이야기 쓰자

Let’s write a story

같이 할래? *original: be in my book. I changed it slightly to fit rhythm and length

Let’s do it together?

연결 할 수 있잖아 *by translating it to this instead of ‘you’ve gotta join me on my page’ I changed the tone slightly as well

You’re able to join me

한번 볼래?

Come take a look

 

예의 사라졌어? *the tone changed here as well to more teasing instead of ‘where are your manners?’

Did your manners disappear?

아니면 시간 더 필요해?

Or do you need more time?

그럼 마음 바꾸자

Then let’s exchange our hearts

결정 더 쉽게 하게

To make choosing easier

 

bridge

한 부탁 있어

I have one request

심박동수 높게해줘

Make your heart raise go higher

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