The last time I ever made a rant about translations was to do with anime; I forget which ones. I sadly would have never expected to see it in some songs. I’m going to keep this short and succinct.
Here we have the all new English rendition of the song Wedding Dress by Taeyang from Big Bang. The original was indeed a really good song. But for starters I think everyone should at least watch the original; pay particular attention to the lyrics, because that’s the central point when it comes to translations.
There’s been so much hype over the English version but after listening to it and the lyrics, I beg to sway away from joining the crowd in giving the song as much credit as Taeyang’s original. What the English version does well is keeping the beat and rhythm. The things we can omit from comparison obviously is the vocals because this after all is merely a cover song.
The rap bit. Okay, an interesting twist to the original; urbanizes the song so I’d give a thumbs up for that. It is of course the cover artists personalizing the song.
But there isn’t much else good about the English version. Lyrics. Biggest downfall was the lyrics. The translation was far from accurate. And as a result of making a cover version, they’ve lost the original meaning to the song, but I suppose if we compare the two songs, they probably do come from their own contexts: an American and a Korean background.
Taeyang’s original song tells a story of a love triangle where by our protagonist fails to get the girl. And I say “fail” rather than “lose” because our protagonist didn’t “lose” the girl, the girl originally “belonged” to the other guy. My take on the original was that the protagonist fell in love with a girl who was already with somebody else. And so the song is expressing how unfortunate is was for him to have not met her first (before the other guy), a little called “fate” perhaps. There is sorrow when the protagonist wishes the girl would not go with the other guy and a bit of hate because she never knew. I guess it’s just your typical story of falling for people that unfortunately are already “taken”.
Now turning to the English version, the story is completely different. Here we have protagonist fighting with the girl and so the girl leaves him for another man. The song expresses regret that he “let” her leave and how he wants her back. Your typical fail relationship story which is just so common in society now. The lyrics in the English conversation convey a picture of a relationship breaking up here; so either the protagonist or the girl did things bad towards one another which caused the break up. The protagonist would therefore rightly be at fault for the girl leaving him, probably deserved it too. And so the rest of the song is just him moping over how he screwed the relationship up; nothing special at all. How often do you hear a guy being sad because he was responsible for breaking something? Being a man is sucking up to your mistakes, acknowledging your fault, admitting the consequences and then moving on. Of course I draw too much from the lyrics that it was the guy’s fault. At the least, if there is constant conflict, then something isn’t working between two people. And it’s selfish for the guy to still want the girl despite the issues she has with him. So, she’s expected to marry the guy even though she has a problem with him, all because he “wants” her? Shameful. Chorus is just plain funny: “I can’t believe that you are not with me.” What, so the guy was like completely drunk when she left him? How can you not see a breakup when it’s so obvious: you fight, she leaves you, she wants to marry someone else. Hello, she’s gone; how could you not see that?
Well that’s enough said. There’s clearly a huge distinction between these two songs. While the English version was indeed impressively mixed and recorded, the lyrics don’t hold under the term “translation”. Taeyang’s version is easily unmatched and even at best I would rather call the English song a “rendition” rather than a “translation”.
If you want a good translation, here’s one that was done really early after the song came out. Of course it wasn’t recorded well, but the translations easily outmatch this new false hit: